Actors have had enough. Around 65,000 of them have gone on strike, fighting for higher pay and asking for tighter regulations on the use of artificial intelligence in creative projects. But what’s this got to do with musicians? As actors are currently on the battlegrounds about streaming residuals and AI, it would only make sense to ask the same about musicians.

Our Music Industry Mondays events always encourage networking and conversation and this week, much conversation was had. To listen to JD and our lovely audience get into the whole thing, you can watch the full event here.

Actors and musicians: Are we the same?

These recent strikes have struck a chord (no pun intended) with musicians. As actors try to navigate fair compensation in the age of streaming and AI-generated content, musicians might be asking themselves very similar questions.

Similarly to actors (although that’s one of the things being argued), musicians get paid per stream, but you probably won’t like how much. Shockingly, Spotify pays its artists £0.0033 per stream. What even is that number? It’s no wonder these strikes are starting to rally up a few musicians to join on side of actors, even Snoop Dogg who said:

“I don’t understand how the f*ck you get paid for that sh*t. Someone explain to me how you can get a billion streams and not get a million dollars? That’s the main gripe with a lot of us artists is that we do major numbers… but it don’t add up to the money. Like where the f*ck is the money?”

He’s got a point there. Perhaps musicians should also aim to have their voices heard to start making some real positive changes in the industry.

The music industry is no stranger to challenges, especially when it comes to artists generating revenue. Although platforms like Spotify are incredibly accessible and successful for a reason, this doesn’t always mean great things for the artists themselves. And the same, unfortunately, can be said for big studios and places like Netflix and Amazon.

Coming together to make a difference

The strike action has, if anything, garnered a lot of attention. Even if you aren’t deep into the film or TV scene you’ve probably heard about these strikes or seen it in a headline somewhere. In getting loads of eyes on this and getting people talking, maybe some real change could be made.

In order to make this as successful as possible, maybe musicians should jump in on the fight and encourage collective action. From independent artists to more established names (leaning more towards the established ones if we’re being honest) musicians can get enough people to hear the collective statement. Which really comes down to: We deserve more.

Just look at this proposal from major studios (Netflix, Amazon, Disney etc.):

“…background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation.”

Does that sound right to you?

Sounds a bit Black Mirror if anything…

The success of strikes in the past has usually come down to unity and collective determination. Musicians possess the ability to unify and amplify their voices and by joining forces, they could advocate for better compensation, making the big guys of the industry think twice about these longstanding concerns.

A lot of questions are being raised right now about the value of art and the livelihood of those who create it. What do you think? Should musicians also gather their picket signs and ask for better pay and have their concerns heard?

Want to have your say? Join us for one of our Music Industry Mondays events where we have open discussions about topics like these and much more that affect the music industry. Grab your free tickets here.