Cerys Matthews on Spotify: 'It's cruel for young artists at the bottom'

'I think it needs to change. I think art is worth something.'

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The Independent Culture

Cerys Matthews has said the internet's impact on music and the rise of companies like Spotify is having a detrimental effect on young artists in the industry.

Matthews, whose BBC Radio 6 Music show is the most popular digital radio programme on the BBC, admitted that there were good and bad sides to the current nature of the music industry.

"For business, it's not a force for good. For people's enjoyment of art, it is a force for good," the former Catatonia singer told The Independent.

Matthews was speaking shortly before the unveiling of Apple Music, the company's attempt at a music streaming service to rival Spotify.

"If you have commercial-led system, less risks are going to be taken, so you're going to find more of the same, more dross that just sells. So I would say, if you can support the bands you like and try directly to pay them, that will help them an awful lot, and that will hopefully make more longevity for them and allow them to develop as artists."

Matthews described the current music industry as "super cruel" for young artists coming through. She said that because it was so easy for musicians to make their own albums now, that made the competition far greater. The system, she said, needs to change.

"Right now, the record companies have a deal with people like Spotify and they're making the money, but the guys at the bottom end don't see the money," she said.

"I think it needs to change. I think art is worth something. I just think we need to catch up with the internet."

Spotify recently announced that it has 75 million active users. 20 million of that number pay the company's premium subscription fee.

Spotify says that it has paid over $3 billion in royalties since its launch, with more than £300 million in the first three months of 2015. "That's good for music, good for music fans … and good for music makers," the company said in a statement.

Matthews will be part of this year's BBC Glastonbury and also founded The Good Life Experience festival, which takes place in September.