The Black Keys Explain How Record Labels & Streaming Can Hurt Musicians

September 23, 2019

Many prospective musicians often have pie-in-the-sky dreams of becoming world-famous rockstars going out on tour, having an album go No. 1, party with A-list celebrities, and more. But in reality, it's not as glamorous as you may think.

During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys explain how despite being signed by a major record label like Warner Bros., artists are often placed in some business dealings that don't exactly work in their favor. "Basically, we want to get in front of people and play our songs, and have fun," states Carney. But after their record label pitched them the idea of bundling their record with a ticket, the idea of how the money was distributed raised a few red flags with the band.

"You would give five dollars from each ticket back to Warner Bros. and then you would get a record sale. And I was like, 'That doesn't make any sense.'" Carney says that according to their label, "It's the only way you're going to get a No. 1 record."

"It's all based on fear. 'Do you want to be relevant?'" 

The duo also discuss the concept of music streaming and why they don't believe it is fair to musicians in its current state. "When I was nine-years-old, I bought Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby and I listened to that s**t, I',m not joking, 250 times in a week, like a f**king idiot. That's who's listening to this s**t that's getting a billion streams in a month, f**king nine-year-old morons!"

"I know a lot of artists that get checks for $2.50 for a whole on a record that normally would sell five or six thousand copies."

Check out The Black Keys' full episode below: