Adam Ruins Everything – Why Musicians are Forced to Sell Out | truTV


♪♪ ♪ I see the look
in your eyes ♪ ♪ My hands are shakin’
I don’t know why ♪ ♪ I feel as if I knew you
in another life ♪ ♪♪ Oh. My. God.
This is so cool! More like
so corporate. Is this a music video
or a Hulko commercial? Dad, stop! A real artist wouldn’t
sell out like this. Ugh! They’d be all about
the music. Actually, while artists
are still making music, that is not how they make
their money anymore. Nowadays, if you want to earn
a living as a musician, you pretty much have
no choice but to sell out. Cut! (music stops) Liisa, baby,
if you’re gonna add another band member,
you have to tell me! I’m takin’ five. Oh, great!
(chuckles) That’ll give me
time to explain. Can I get playback? Back when people were buying
physical CDs, there was a ton of money
to be made. For the labels, and for the artists. ♪♪ But the rise
of streaming services like Spotify, Pandora,
and Apple Music have changed the industry. In 2017,
music sales revenue was just 60% of what it was
in 1999. (music stops) I’m super convenient,
but I do not pay well. Every time one of their songs
is played on Spotify, artists only earn around
one-tenth of one cent. Cool. That’ll cover my rent for
the next three seconds. See, Jordan?
This is why I support our local record store. Streaming is killing
the music industry. Actually,
that’s not true at all. Streaming may be
screwing the artists, but the labels have figured out
how to make bank off of it. When early Internet services offered illegally-downloaded
music, everyone took a hit. But then the labels
started cutting contracts licensing their entire catalogs
for streaming. And streaming is now
their biggest source of revenue. While their profits
aren’t quite back to what they were
in the ’90s, they’re bouncing back at a rate
of $1 billion per year. The only problem? Artists are not getting
a fair cut of those deals. Even Beyoncé, one of
the biggest musicians in the world, only makes
10% of her money off of music sales. Yeah, but she tours
all the time. That’s how a real artist
makes their living, by getting out
in front of the fans. Actually, unless you’re
as huge as Beyoncé, it’s pretty much
impossible to make any money off
of touring, either. The top 40 live acts
can make up to 80% of their income
from touring, but everyone below the top 40 is lucky if their tours
even break even. The tour was
a huge success. Yes! Now, after we recoup
all the production, travel, and crew
expenses… you owe the label
20 grand! What? Since it’s so hard to make money off of
record sales or touring now, many mid-level artists
these days can only earn a living by taking endorsement deals
or appearance fees. You guys look great! Now, just a few
small adjustments. Jessie J has deals with
VitaminWater… Drink up. (cash register chimes) Pitbull endorses
Sheets “Energy Strips”… Say “Ahh.” (cash register chimes) And tons of artists get paid
just to show up at events. (cash register chimes) And not too much dancing. You need to save
your energy for Justin Bieber’s
cousin’s yacht christening! This is embarrassing!
How can these artists even stand to look
at themselves in the mirror? (man)
Maybe it’s ’cause
they trying to eat! Oh, I’m not stealing these. The director, uh,
said I could have ’em. (Adam)
This is Open Mike Eagle. He’s an indie hip-hop artist,
comedian, and one of
my closest friends. Thanks for comin’ through,
fam. Adam, I barely know you. I’ma keep it real
with you guys, though. A lot of fans want
their favorite artists to be “authentic,”
but when it comes to making money
as a musician, it’s almost impossible
without these endorsement deals
and licensing opportunities. And truthfully, only
the most popular artists get offered these things
in the first place. Most endorsement opportunities go to more established
celebrities, even when they barely
make music anymore. In 2017, the highest-paid
musician was Diddy, thanks to his eight-figure deal
with Ciroc vodka. But he hadn’t made an album
in over seven years. (laughing)
More like, “Mo’ money, less albums,”
right, Mike? Sure, dude.
The reality of working as a musician today
is this: It took me nearly
ten years to make the same yearly salary
as a musician as I did as a teacher. I don’t know if I’d be able
to make music professionally and eat without additional
streams of income. It all goes into
building my brand, and it helps me be able
to make a living. In a perfect world,
artists would be paid fairly for making their art. But unfortunately,
that’s just not the way the music industry works. (phone chimes) Oh, shoot! I’m late
for an audition. Your boy’s gonna be the face
of Hulko Pizza Scones. But… that’s bull. Music shouldn’t be
so commercial! Ahh!
Eff the industry! Eff the Hulko-Puffs
and the named labels, and all of it!
Ahh! Dad!
What are you doing? Okay, the Zydepops
are trying to cultivate more of a mid-’90s vibe, and trashing the set
is so early ’70s!