Artist’s Lament (Streaming Sweatshops) – original song about the music business

Download “Artist’s Lament” by Rick McCargar from iTunes by clicking here.

“Artist’s Lament (Streaming Sweatshops)” is a country music / folk song about the current state of the music industry…streaming is replacing sales and pays very little while downloads and cd sales are dropping rapidly (12% last year and 14% this year so far), and there are very few venues to play in compared to just a decade ago. So…the opportunities to make money in this biz are drying up for artists.

People say that we should be happy to be streamed by companies like Pandora and Spotify, it provides an audience. The audience no longer wants to buy music they can stream for free.

People say we should make our money playing live shows….but places that have live music are closing at an alarming rate.

If I cover a song, copyright law requires that I pay $0.091 for every cd or download I sell, to the songwriter/publisher.

When I cover a song, and it is streamed on Pandora, Spotify, or their competitors, I must pay one-penny per stream, so it will cost me $10,000 in royalty payments to the original songwriter/publisher.

When Pandora plays/streams a song, whether it is an original or a cover song, they pay a fraction of one-penny to all involved…that includes the cover-artist, the songwriter and publisher.

That means if I have a hit on Pandora or Spotify, I will lose money every time it plays, and since those people already have all the music they want in streaming format, they aren’t going to turn around and pay to download it or buy a cd.

So, the new streaming business makes money off the artists (just like the old music business), there are few places to play live, and sales are dropping because people feel they are entitled to free or almost free music….doesn’t leave much room for most artists to make a living.

Please listen and then download this song, and pass it along to your friends. I would sure appreciate it! Thank you! Rick

Download “Little Martha” from iTunes, I’d sure appreciate it!
Little Martha – Rick McCargar



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4 comments on “Artist’s Lament (Streaming Sweatshops) – original song about the music business

    • No question. It is certainly true that the only thing that you can rely on, is change. May as well embrace it…but before I do…this protest song… ha ha. Don’t forget to tip the wait-staff, they work hard…..

  1. Music classes have been slowly leaving our school system for the past 10 – 20 years, and I really feel like that’s reflected in our culture now. It’s all about values, and children (now young adults) are not taught to VALUE music and the musicians who create it. . . Which, of course, means fewer venues for live music, and less money spent on recorded music. Boy, don’t I sound like an old biddy? 😉

    This is a great song, Rick!

  2. Thank you Anita, now if I can just find a way to get more people to hear it, and actually buy it…..I’ll be set. B ^ )

    But I made my protest. What can Pandora and Spotify do? Ruin my career? Tell me “You’ll never play in this town again”? Not pay me?

    That’s the nice thing about being my age, I can tell off the industry, and I’m not beholding to any of it, so they can’t touch me.

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