The power of the pack

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The Pack
Streaming services have taken away income from local artists. The Pack aims to bring it back. Photo - Startup News

Being a musician or artist has never been an easy life, but the rise of streaming services such as Youtube and Spotify has eroded publishing money for all but the major label-backed top artists.

Throw on top of that a global pandemic that has decimated performing income, and the lot of the unsigned artist has become almost untenable.

It’s no surprise then that 65% of the music and performing arts industry suffer depression or anxiety, as compared to 12.5% of the general population. 16% have attempted suicide. And those stats were before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, during Covid, streaming service Spotify has quietly tripled its valuation to $66B. The founder is worth a cool $4 billion.

90% of musicians say streaming does not provide them an income. Only the top bands make any money from it. You need a thousand downloads to earn the price of a cup of coffee, and a million to maybe pay the cost of recording an album (and very few artists earn a million downloads).

The top 4 music labels provide 80% of content to streaming and collect 70% of the money. A tiny proportion – 0.7% – of artists on Spotify take 90% of income. Even in this top tier they only earn an average of $79k each a year. 

Co-founder Mel Bainbridge at the launch of The Pack. Photo – Charlie Gunningham

The Pack is taking the power back

Perth-based The Pack is a member-owned, cooperative music platform owned and controlled by its users. 

Set up by co-founders Mel Bainbridge and Harry Deluxe (aka ‘Mama Red and the Dark Blues’), their aim is to give royalties back to local musicians; to be fair and transparent, and provide 40% of income to the artists, forever. 

Using geo-fencing, machine learning and blockchain technologies, they are building a new location-based service that will connect local musicians with local businesses and listeners.

We’ll turn local business owners and listeners into patrons of local businesses. We’re using streaming to fix streaming, and we’re going to make it easier for local artists to be found and supported.

This is a genuine move to an ethical economy with an equitable distribution of value. We want to get local artists played and paid. We will not provide royalties to offshore artists.

Mel Bainbridge, co-founder, The Pack

The Pack team is determined to break the stranglehold that major streaming services has on the industry.

Local artists entertaining the guests at The Pack’s launch, The Backlot, in Perth last Friday. Photo – CG.

“Every big artist was once an unsigned artist making no money,” said co-founder Harry Deluxe. “If they started out now, you’d probably not hear them.”

“We’re going to make streaming the servant, not the master,” she said. “We’re going to make it easier for local artists to be paid fairly for their creative content.

“We’re the platform that will make it easier for local businesses, government and listeners to find great local content. And we’ll make it easier for listeners to interact with artists that stream through The Pack.”

The Pack is aiming to disrupt the disruptor, and take the power of music and performance back.

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You can get involved, and start using The Pack, on their website.