Nick Mason: Record labels must work harder
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason says record labels have more work to do if they want to remain relevant in the modern world.
His band recently underwent their own change of heart after initially fighting against having their material made available on streaming service Spotify.
In June Floyd they launched an experiment, and announced that their entire back catalogue would become available once the song Wish You Were Here had been streamed a million times. The target was hit four days later, teaching the band a valuable lesson.
Mason tells the Wall Street Journal: “Spotify for us was a success. A lot of people have been streaming our music – and importantly, also a lot of people who weren’t yet familiar with our music.
“Perhaps I would say something different if we were having this discussion a year and a half ago. But now it’s becoming clear that streaming is not another form of piracy, and you can argue that more music is being listened to now than in the past.”
The drummer – who is co-chair of the Featured Artists Coalition – accepts that Floyd found it difficult to adjust to the 21st-century environment. But he insists labels have their own soul-searching to do, particularly in the area of discovering new talent.
Admitting he has “absolutely no idea” how Floyd might have made it if they were starting out today, he says: “Record companies can no longer afford to do the sort of development for new artists that they used to do. Launching new artists or bands has simply become too expensive for them now that their business model and their revenues are under pressure.
“We’re going to have to find other ways of identifying the grass-root talent out there. As artists, we used to have a ladder that we needed to climb – but now it feels like the first four rungs are missing.”
Mason warns: “Record companies need to work more comfortably with artists or they will lose out.”