Jimmy Buffett put streaming music god and Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek on the defensive today by straight-up asking for more money when Spotify users stream Buffett songs. Ek was speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, and the first audience question came from the famed songwriter of "Margaritaville."
"Do you see any time in the future where we might see a raise directly from you as opposed to going through the bulls--- you have to go through to deal with a label these days?" Buffett asked. "How the stream of revenue gets to the artist, particularly young struggling artists, it's really hard for that to actually happen in real life if you're a young artist. So I'd hope that all the music service groups would kind of look at that. It's one thing when it goes to the record label. Most of it doesn't get to the artist, which would be nice."
Ek seemed receptive and agreed that most of the money doesn't get to the artist. "We're going to pay out a little bit more than a billion dollars to the music industry this year," he said. This is "lower than what we used to get," Buffett said, "which is why I was hoping for a raise."
At that point, famed music manager Irving Azoff, who was moderating the panel, suggested Buffett sell one of his planes if he wanted more money.
Buffett can now count himself among a number of notable musicians who are vocal about their dissatisfaction with the way they're paid for streamed music plays. Other include Thom Yorke, The Black Keys and a large contingent of Swedish musicians.