Unveiling the Curtain: How the Music Industry Is Rigged Against Artists

The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with record labels, streaming services, and other key players generating massive profits. However, despite the industry’s lucrative nature, many artists struggle to make a living from their craft. In fact, the music industry is often rigged against artists, with many musicians forced to navigate a complex and unfair system in order to succeed. In this article, we will explore some of the ways in which the music industry is rigged against artists.

Record Labels: The Gatekeepers of the Music Industry

Record labels are often the gatekeepers of the music industry, with many artists relying on them to promote their music, book shows, and secure distribution deals. However, record labels are not always the best partners for artists. In fact, many labels exploit musicians by offering them unfair contracts, taking a large percentage of their earnings, and controlling their creative output.

One of the biggest issues with record labels is the lack of transparency in their dealings with artists. Many labels operate on a “take it or leave it” basis, offering artists contracts that are heavily skewed in favor of the label. For example, a label might offer an artist a 360 deal, which means they take a percentage of the artist’s earnings from all income streams, including touring, merchandise sales, and endorsements. This can leave artists with little control over their own careers, and struggling to make ends meet.

Another issue with record labels is the length of their contracts. Many labels require artists to sign long-term contracts that can last for years, with little chance of renegotiation. This means that artists may be stuck with a label that is not working for them, with little chance of escaping their contract.

Streaming Services: The New Middlemen

Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have revolutionized the music industry, offering artists a new way to reach fans and earn money. However, streaming services are also the new middlemen in the industry, taking a large cut of artists’ earnings and dictating the terms of their distribution deals.

One of the biggest issues with streaming services is their low royalty rates. Many artists receive only a fraction of a penny per stream, which can make it difficult to earn a living from their music. Additionally, streaming services often require artists to sign exclusive distribution deals, which can limit their ability to distribute their music elsewhere.

Live Music: A Double-Edged Sword

Live music is one of the best ways for artists to make money and connect with fans. However, it can also be a double-edged sword, with many artists struggling to secure gigs, and facing unfair treatment from promoters and venues.

One of the biggest issues with live music is the lack of transparency in the booking process. Many artists are forced to rely on agents and promoters to book shows, with little control over the process. Additionally, artists often face unfair treatment from promoters and venues, with some being forced to perform for little or no pay.


The music industry can be a tough place for artists, with many struggling to make a living from their craft. Record labels, streaming services, and promoters all play a role in the industry’s rigged system, taking large cuts of artists’ earnings and dictating the terms of their contracts and distribution deals. However, there are also ways for artists to succeed in the industry, including building a strong fanbase, negotiating fair contracts, and taking control of their own careers. By understanding the challenges and opportunities in the music industry, artists can take steps to succeed on their own terms.

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