David Byrne, Outspoken Critic of Streaming Music Services, Joins SoundExchange Board
SoundExchange -- the music industry body responsible for collecting royalties from "non-interactive" digital music services like Pandora and SiriusXM -- named Byrne to its board of directors yesterday (May 8). The board includes executives from companies like Sony and Warner, indie label heads, industry lawyers and other business leaders. Byrne joins one other musician on the board -- Martha Reeves, of Martha and the Vandellas.
The move gives Byrne the opportunity to have his say in a more insider setting. SoundExchange doesn't work with Spotify, however, which has been the main target of Byrne's ire. (Spotify pays royalties directly to labels instead of through SoundExchange.)
In a 2013 op-ed for The Guardian, Byrne accused Spotify of attempting to monopolize the music business and force lower royalty rates on emerging artists.
"Many [emerging musicians], who seem to be well established, well known and very talented, will eventually have to find employment elsewhere or change what they do to make more money," Byrne wrote at the time. "Without new artists coming up, our future as a musical culture looks grim."
Now, Byrne says he's in a position to do something about it directly. “I am honored to join the SoundExchange board where I can leverage my experience as a performing artist and fight on behalf of all creators for fairness and the long-term value of music,” Byrne said in a statement.