While Spotify has come under fire of late in the Neil Young/Joe Rogan debate and artists putting a spotlight on their royalty rates, Disturbed frontman David Draiman has offered some positives where streaming services are concerned, claiming in a series of tweets that streaming has saved the music industry after a period in which music piracy almost doomed it.
Draiman writes, "All those attacking @Spotify, young and old, would do well to remember a couple little things called MUSIC PIRACY, and BITTORRENT SITES. Before streaming took hold, both artists and the very music industry itself was on the verge of collapse."
"Why," he asks, before answering. "Because the heads of the major labels at the time refused to see the future when a young Sean Fanning and Sean Parker, the guys behind a little startup called @napster, approached them with a new way to reach their consumers at unprecedented levels, and they shot them down. So instead, Fanning and Parker let Napster do its thing for free."
The Disturbed singer then rolls out some history, adding, "Piracy and BitTorrent sites soon followed along with the new perception that 'music should be free'. Artists suffered, record labels suffered and the industry itself nearly collapsed. It took STREAMING to bring it back to life."
Draiman says, "Streaming made the labels profitable again, made catalog artists regain a royalty stream, and made Piracy obsolete. Streaming made legacy artists catalogs, like @Neilyoung and others tremendously valuable. It created the current environment where people stream their music, and where musicians had the opportunity to sell their catalogs, which had regained their value, like Neil did."
The Disturbed singer does believe that there should be a better streaming royalty rate, which is something other acts have also brought to the spotlight. However, he explains, "It doesn't take away the FACT that without streaming, there would no longer BE A MUSIC INDUSTRY, and these artists who are complaining after they already sold their catalogs for gargantuan sums of money, would be liquidating their assets… …and many would be struggling to survive."
The vocalist continues, "Artists you want to blame someone? Blame the heads of the labels in the days prior to Napster who refused to adopt new technology in favor of an antiquated retail system that had a higher profit margin. Blame your lawyers and your management for not negotiating a better royalty percentage in your respective record deals, and blame YOURSELVES for not paying attention to it. The majority of the legacy artists out there have newfound riches from streaming… …and music fans have easier and higher quality access to the widest range of music in existence."
"In summary, stop bitching, educate yourselves and read your damn contracts," says the Disturbed singer. "Streaming saved music. Whether you want to accept it or not…it's the TRUTH."