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The Anchoress criticises “bleak” streaming industry: “I’ve earned nothing”

"It's been my most successful year on the surface, but financially it's been devastating"

By Patrick Clarke

The Anchoress Press Photo
The Anchoress (Photo: Roberto Foddai)

Musician Catherine Anne Davies, aka The Anchoress, has strongly criticised streaming models in the music industry, saying she failed to break even despite a hugely successful 2021.

The Anchoress’ second album ‘The Art Of Losing’ was released in March this year, and received over 750,000 online streams as well as critical acclaim. Regardless of the success, however, Davies says she didn’t break even.

“If streaming numbers had been record sales, I would have got a gold record on my wall for The Art of Losing,” Davies told the BBC.

“But I’ve earned nothing, not a penny, because of the structure of my label deal. There was a small advance but it didn’t cover the cost of mixing.”

Describing streaming as “a double-edged sword” due to its benefits in terms of access, she added: “It’s a route to fans. I have 111,000 on Spotify and a top 40 record this year, but it doesn’t trickle down.

“It needs to be better remunerated. None are doing it to become millionaires, but it would be nice to pay the mortgage.”

Describing the idea of touring as an easy way for artists to make money as “a massive myth,” she continued: “It’s pretty bleak at the moment – a lot of people have left the industry.”

“I laugh, it’s been my most successful year on the surface, but financially it’s been devastating. It’s completely mad.”

Davies’ comments come as the streaming industry faces increased scrutiny. Last week, Labour MP Kevin Brennan’s Private Member’s Bill was brought before parliament following the summer’s ‘Economics Of Music Streaming’ report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

According to a statement, the bill’s main aim is to “ensure performers and composers are properly remunerated, by placing the treatment of revenue gained from music streaming services onto a common footing with the treatment of revenue gained from other sources”.

Although the bill was not passed and is unlikely to be discussed further in Parliament, one of its biggest supporters the Musicians Union said “The Bill isn’t dead,” and thanked the government for “all the positive steps they are taking to investigate the problems with streaming.”