Ne-Yo is the latest musician to criticise streaming music royalties, and like Aloe Blacc and others before him, he’s focusing on the income made by songwriters. His real beef, though, is with the US system of setting royalty tariffs via federal regulations rather than free-market negotiations. “This regulatory system was created over 70 years ago and has not been updated since 2001, before the introduction of the iPod, and before streaming music was made popular,” wrote Ne-Yo.
“More people are streaming more music today than ever before – and this is a good thing. I want fans to enjoy my music on whatever platform they choose. But I don’t want my music, and the music of my peers, to continue to be devalued by the streaming companies that reap the benefits of our work at our expense.” His claim that “it takes about 1 million streams for a songwriter to see $90” is already sparking some discussion on his op-ed article, with questions about bundling Pandora in with Spotify and other on-demand services. But his basic points tally with existing debate within the publishing sector nonetheless.