Fair Trade Music Initiative Seeks To Improve Artist Compensation
The Fair Trade Music Initiative is on a mission to foster a sustainable music ecosystem by giving fans an uninterrupted listening experience that fairly compensates artists through Mad Genius Radio.
“It’s a sad but true fact that the first exposure many people had to online music was an illegal, free file-sharing service,” said Eric Neumann, founder of the Fair Trade Music Initiative and of Mad Genius Radio, a subscription-based streaming music service. “Because of that, many people who have never stepped foot in a CD or record store feel that music is an entitlement and not an art form. We want to change that belief."
Radio listening no longer drives album sales, so what used to work in an analog age doesn't cut it anymore. The Fair Trade Music Initiative was founded on the idea that music is valuable and should be paid for. Subscription based services like Mad Genius Radio pay 79% more in royalties than free, ad-based streaming services, with nearly half of that payment going straight to the artists.
“Music is the most engaging form of art there is, and now is the time to work together to right a wrong,” continued Neumann. “We don’t think it’s proper to be fighting artists in court to lower rates. That’s an unwinnable battle on all fronts, so Fair Trade Music represents a better way to compensate artists and reward fans with a better listening experience.”
The Fair Trade Music Initiative has two practical components – one for artists and one for fans. Artists are asked to join the movement by signing up and showing their support for Fair Trade Music. Artists will then begin receiving incentive payments from Mad Genius Radio for each fan referred to the site that creates a free trial. The artist – or their designated charity – will earn $2 per referral, plus recurring rewards when that listener becomes a paid subscriber.
For fans, the Fair Trade Music proposition is simple: try a subscription-based music streaming service as an ad-free alternative. Similar-minded music fans will agree that a nominal monthly fee – about the price of a latte – is well worth it.
“If more music fans listened to subscription radio services, which don’t interrupt the listening experience with ads, then artists would be making a heck of a lot more money,” said Fair Trade Music’s Neumann. “If we were talking about something physical – say smartphones – that sold tens of millions of units, but the design team only got a few hundred dollars for their passion, creativity, and vision, there would be an uproar. With the biggest players in streaming music paying pennies per million plays, that’s just what we have now. And that’s why Fair Trade Music is an idea whose time has come."