Open Letter to Independent Music Artists

Dear Independent Artists and Recording Labels:

Taylor Swift, through her latest actions regarding streaming services in particular through her open letter to Apple Inc. (see Taylor's open letter to Apple), has enlightened me about how streaming services are always coming up with ways not to pay recording artists and songwriters for streaming their tracks online.

It has long been a complaint of mine that streaming services pay less than a miniscule gratuity to artists for streaming their material.

Currently streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and many others only pay independent artists .0001 to .01 cent per play. They offer no explanation or schedule as to how they determine how much (or little) they pay the artists for streaming their material. It would take anywhere from 1,000 @ .01 to 100,000 @ .0001 plays to even make $10.00 off the streaming services. Most independent artists, especially newer artists, are not receiving that amount of streams.

I, as the owner of Sidscape Media, have decided I will no longer allow full albums to be placed onto the streaming services and will only allow a track or two from each album we release to be streamed through these services. If a listener then wants to hear the entire album, they will have to purchase the album either by getting a physical copy (CD) or through purchased download. Individual track purchases will still be available through purchased downloads.

The downside is, it will cost a little extra to separately release tracks on their own.  However in the development of our next album, we plan to release some tracks a few months to about a year prior to the full album's release basically as teaser tracks. This will also help to stretch out the cost.  We have recently done this by releasing the song "Shake Your Body Down" as a single which will also be on our next album.

Then when time comes to release the full album, we will pay for releasing it but specify through our aggregation and distribution service not to allow streaming just downloads. Physical distribution is also available through our aggregation service however Sidscape now handles its own physical distribution and only use the aggregation services for download distribution to iTunes, Amazon MP3, etc.

This was a hard decision to make because we do want our listeners to enjoy our material but developing and producing music does cost money. The streaming services unfortunately dissuade listeners from purchasing music since all they have to do is access recorded material through their streaming service on their phones or computers.

I also freely offer our new policy as a suggestion to all independent artists and labels so that hopefully, if enough of us adopt this policy, we can regain better control over our material.

Thank You.

Sidney Vaught
Owner/Recording Artist
Sidscape Media