Courtesy of Forbes Online...
Many of the biggest music stars in the world “are hardly making any money at all,” notes Tony Mortimer...
(Tony Mortimer, came to fame with U.K. band East 17, and says musicians are being squeezed by a digital theft, short-sighted record companies and the greed of file-sharing sites such as YouTube).
Tony has sold more than 20 million records and is getting back on the road this month – with plans for a new album to follow.
The composer of the hit “Stay Another Day” says he derives a substantial portion of his income from astute real-estate investments outside his musical activities, (which have expanded into band management and production facilities).
“The property side is now to the point where it supports my music. Before my music used to support that company, but now it’s the other way round,” Mortimer says. “You can become a property millionaire, it just takes a good few years. [Houses] are an investment, and as soon as you move in they make money.”
He remains optimistic, but notes that for everyone apart from a few major label (house-hold name) artists, “the business side has gone, almost.”
“There was a time in the 1970s and 1980s when stars made a lot of money,” Mortimer says. “Unfortunately, I arrived in the 1990s so we just got into it all at the tail end of it – we could still make a good living: you could set yourself up for life, but you couldn’t retire on it, on music alone, unless you were really, really lucky.”
He believes the decline started at the turn of the millennium. While it is easier to make music thanks to home recording in 2016, it is harder to make money, he argues. “Music has lost some of its mysticism and it’s not as interesting, and getting to be just a throwaway,” Mortimer says.
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Mortimer noticed that record companies first stopped offering advances and then chose not to sign many new acts – it is safer for an A and R agent to say “no” than take a risk and lose his job. ”Record companies do not have the money they used to and they are not passing anything on to the artists by advances and stuff. I seriously have no idea how the artists of today are making any money.”
He is also concerned that fans uploading songs to sites such as YouTube are killing revenue streams. “Anyone can see my song and video for free and yet there will be an advert beforehand, and where is that money going?” Mortimer says. “Everybody is throwing their hands up and saying that the record companies really haven’t dealt with YouTube.”
(YouTube says it does pay for copyrighted material it finds or claimed by the owners, while artists say that its rates do not compare with other services.)
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