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Geoff Barrow says he earned £1700 from 34 million streams, but where had that money been first?

By | Published on Thursday 16 April 2015

Portishead

Earlier this week, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow tweeted that he had received just £1700 from 34 million streams of his records, berating Universal Music “for selling our music so cheaply”. But leaping to conclusions based on that figure alone didn’t seem quite right to Dan Le Sac, so he started tapping away at his calculator.

“At first glance those numbers are shocking, almost vomit inducing”, Dan writes in a new column for CMU. “But a few moments after reading those tweets – as I was counting to ten before reacting – my cogs got to turning and I started to think that can’t be right. 0.005 pence per stream (five thousandths of a penny) seems obscenely out of whack with the half a penny-ish I see from, say, a Spotify stream”.

He continues: “I’m not disputing Mr Barrow’s numbers, and I’m certainly not challenging him to a duel or anything. That said, I would go for a close range naked paintball battle – I’m chubby so I can take the punishment. But I do think that those tweets don’t tell the truth of the situation, there’s far more to take into account than that final figure”.

Tracing backwards, Dan consider the route of that money to its final destination in Barrow’s bank account, estimating that the Portishead man saw less than 7% of the money generated by his music.

“For an industry that only has one product, the music that artists like Geoff Barrow create – and, to be fair, he does it better than most – does it seem right that the creators get such a tiny share?” asks Dan. “Ultimately, asking for your fair share isn’t greedy”.

Read Dan’s column in full here.



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