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2019 BET Awards - Press Room

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Sometimes fame doesn’t always equal fortune. Award-winning singer Fantasia Barrino knows far too all. During a recent interview on The Tammie Mac Show, the “Free Yourself” crooner opened up about some of the financial struggles she endured throughout her busy career. She also revealed that some well-known artists in the game were also struggling behind the scenes.

Fantasia revealed the surprising tidbit when Tammie made a comment about her having “more money” than most people, to which she replied:

“You don’t know that.”

She continued: “A lot of artists that you see, they look like they have it. And we smile and come out and put on a good show But in real life…some of them are struggling. And we don’t have it. I’m just now building myself back up,” she added.

“I lost everything twice, so I cook my own food, I don’t need no chef.”

The music industry’s unfair payment structure

The music industry can be a shady business, and this year, a number of stars weren’t afraid to speak out about the bad deals that plagued their success earnings. Megan Thee Stallion sued her label 1501 Entertainment for years of back pay. While stars like Glorilla and Meek Mill claimed they never saw a penny from some of their biggest hits.

Streaming plays a crucial part in how many artists are paid, but after the label receives its share, many artists are often left with pennies. A USA Today report from 2020 found that artists earn as little as $0.0033 per stream on certain platforms. Many services don’t pay per stream, but rather through a system based on “stream share.” For artists distributing their music on Spotify, this payment could vary depending on how music is streamed or agreements with licensors, according to the company’s website.

A study by The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers found that artists were paid an average of just over half a cent per stream in 2018 and under a third of a cent in 2020. The average artist’s pay rate declined 43 percent over two years. How could anyone maintain a living with that chump change?

While obtaining success certainly isn’t impossible, it takes real hard work to maintain a successful career in the music industry and Fantasia is proof, that with hard work and determination anything is possible.

Watch more of Fantasia’s interview with Tammie below.





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