Musician David Byrne has been talking, again, about his views on digital music services and artists’ rights. “The Pandora model, and that of many other internet companies, is, IMO, like Amazon: hang in there for years making no profit, undercut existing businesses who do have to make a profit, and continue to seduce investors with the numbers,” he told Billboard in an interview. “It’s not hard to undercut your competition when you don’t have to make a profit! Yes, the streaming companies “negotiate” with labels – but the (big) labels are investors, which is clearly a conflict of interest. If and when Spotify goes public, these labels stand to make a lot of cash – possibly way more than they’d ever make from the minuscule percentages derived from streaming. The labels therefore have no incentive to get tough with the streaming companies.” Byrne called for artists to have more of a say in digital dealmaking: “What the deals are, where they are, and for how long. There needs to be transparency: Artists should have access to data on their streaming income in a way that’s comprehensible.”

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