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Free streaming music was put on trial at the Grammys

Free streaming music was put on trial at the Grammys

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At tonight's Grammys, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow and Common took the stage to stand against free tier music streaming. It marks the second time he aligned himself with prominent recording artists to pressure companies like Spotify to pay artists for their work, and encourage fans to buy albums instead of streaming them.

"Isn't a song worth more than a penny?"

"Isn't a song worth more than a penny?" Portnow asked the audience at the Staples Center, referring to the minuscule profits artists earn from ad-supported streaming. "Listen, we all love the convenience, and we support technologies like streaming, which connect us to that music. But we also have to make sure that artists grow up in a world where music is a viable career."

Common went on to give a shout out to fans actively helping artists today: "So tonight, my comrades of the recording academy would like to thank our fans who support our work by going to a concert, subscribing to a music service, collecting vinyl, or speaking out for artists’ rights." Collecting vinyl is a particularly timely mention, since sales have been exploding in recent months. Just ask Technics.

Portnow took the stage last year alongside Jennifer Hudson to launch the Creators Alliance, an activist group that set out to lobby for fair pay for artists. He took direct aim at Spotify, too, saying "remember that music matters in our lives, and that new technology must pay artists fairly."