Can James Blake really fix the music industry? Artist teases "solution" to issues addressed in viral tweets: "The brainwashing worked and now people think that music is free"

james blake
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Last week, James Blake posted a series of tweets that addressed various issues surrounding the difficulties faced by artists in earning a living from their music.

Blake argued that the industry's economic model isn't doing enough to support musicians, because "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."

Over the weekend, Blake posted again, telling his followers that he has "been having some great conversations with like minds" and they have "landed on a nice solution" to the problems he addressed in his original tweets.

While details are scarce, the artist said that an announcement is due in nine days on March 20th. It's not yet clear what Blake is working on; could it be the launch of an ethical streaming platform that pays artists fairly? Could it be a new Bandcamp-style music marketplace? When we know more, so will you.

Speculation in the replies to Blake's teaser was rife; Twitter user @horriblemercy commented, "Moving away from streaming services is NOT the answer. Please tell me you found a solution by working with platforms to introduce new ways to consume music. Because nobody will abandon their playlists and all their data at the expense of paying even more money."

Others have urged Blake to pull his music from streaming platforms and release solely on Bandcamp, arguing that bigger acts taking the lead on this could drive industry-wide change.

"The brainwashing worked and now people think music is free," Blake said in his earlier tweets. "If we want quality music somebody is gonna have to pay for it."

"The industry is beyond fucked and musicians are getting fucked harder than anyone. I'm extremely lucky I got in before streaming took over and before all these shady deals were made behind our backs".

Revisit our 2023 feature on the fight to fix music streaming.

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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