Kanye West, Metro Booming, Vic Mensa & Tyler, The Creator co-sign James Blake’s warning about the music industry

Artists rally for change amidst industry challenges

2023 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 1 - Day 3
2023 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 1 - Day 3 / Monica Schipper/GettyImages

In a powerful show of solidarity, some of the biggest names in the music industry have come together to amplify James Blake’s urgent message about the state of the business. Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator, Vic Mensa, and Metro Booming are among those who echo Blake’s candid criticisms.

The financial struggles of artists

James Blake, the British singer and producer, took to social media recently to express his frustration with the pay inequality plaguing artists, record labels, and streaming services. His words struck a chord with fellow musicians who recognize the uphill battle faced by creatives trying to make a living from their craft.

Blake’s poignant tweet encapsulated the challenges

"If we want quality music, somebody is gonna have to pay for it. Streaming services don’t pay properly, labels want a bigger cut than ever, and just sit and wait for you to go viral. TikTok doesn’t pay properly, and touring is getting prohibitively expensive for most artists."

His call to action resonated with those who believe that artists deserve fair compensation for their art.

The brainwashing effect

Blake didn’t stop there. He delved deeper into the issue on Instagram, dissecting the factors contributing to the current landscape. Slowed-down or sped-up versions of songs, the short attention span of audiences, and the viral appeal of TikTok and Instagram Reels all play a role. Fans now recognize only snippets of the same song, perpetuating a culture where exposure doesn’t necessarily translate to income.

"I really love music,” Blake emphasized. “I will continue to use my social media, but only to connect with you guys. Music is my life’s purpose, and I will not have mine destroyed by a bunch of labels and tech companies who don’t even pay us and exploit us relentlessly."

The co-signers speak out

Kanye West and Tyler, The Creator promptly reposted Blake’s thoughts on Instagram, signaling their alignment with his stance. Metro Boomin, BADBADNOTGOOD, Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Erick the Architect, Shenseea, Vic Mensa, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, and Bas all concurred in the comments section. The consensus? The music industry needs reform.

Young Metro, the renowned producer, chimed in, recalling an incident:

"They suggested for me to release the acapella, sped-up, and slowed-down versions of ‘Creepin,’ and I was like nooooo way lol."

His frustration echoes Blake’s sentiment—artists shouldn’t have to compromise their work to survive.

As the debate rages on, the music industry faces a critical juncture. Will it prioritize fair compensation for artists, or will the status quo persist? James Blake’s warning serves as a rallying cry for change, and the co-signers amplify that call. It’s time to rewrite the rules and ensure that music creators receive their due.