Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon warns of “hole in next generation” of artists if streaming services don’t reform

"The real practical knock-on effect is that new bands can't make money unless they play live"

Duran Duran frontman Simon LeBon has called for streaming services to reform their payment models so that emerging artists receive a larger share.

The new-wave icon warned that a “hole” in the next generation of artists could emerge if musicians fail to receive a higher rate per stream.

At present, the majority of streaming services pay less than a penny per stream – with a legion of musicians warning that this is severely impacting their livelihood and ability to perform music as a full time profession.

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“Artists need to get paid properly for music that is streamed, that’s where the money should be coming from,” LeBon told NME. “What do artists get? It’s like 0.2 of a penny per stream and that’s not just for artists, a percentage of that will go to the record company as well who then don’t give it to the artists, they’ll give it to the people they consider to be the most successful artists.”

The singer’s comments come after a lengthy enquiry by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Commons Select Committee, concluded last month that a “total reset of the system is needed.”

LeBon continued: “It’s so unfair and it’s so wrong – the idea that people can spend nine quid a month and listen to unlimited music worries me for a start because it devalues recorded music.

“The real practical knock-on effect is that new bands can’t make money unless they play live and during a pandemic no one has been able to do that. There’s going to be a hole in the generation.”

He added: “Music is a form of expression that people who want to do it can’t live without. I’m just so glad that I make music. When we started there just wasn’t as many bands. The competition was nothing like it is now and the focus of attention was much tighter so you could be in the biggest band in the world. I don’t think it would be possible to pick that now.”

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His comments echo those of Radiohead’s Ed O’BrienElbow’s Guy Garvey and Nadine Shah, who told MPs last year that streaming payments are “threatening the future of music.”

LeBon was speaking to NME to mark the release of ‘MORE JOY’, the band’s new collaborative single with Japanese group ‘CHAI’.

It is the latest track to emerge from Duran Duran’s forthcoming fifteenth album ‘FUTURE PAST’.

“They’re a proper Japanese punk band and we had this really great piece of music with quite quirky lyrics and a great chant at the end of it,” said LeBon. “I sounded OK when we sang it, but it really needed something else and we approached Chai. They recorded in Tokyo and I had this live link for the whole recording to give direction.

“What they’ve added is a sizzling youthfulness that us geezers who have been in Duran Duran for forty odd years need a bit more of.”

Duran Duran release ‘FUTURE PAST’ on October 22. 

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