Irving Azoff has offered a decidedly blunt take on the music payments (or the relative lack thereof) made by social networks including Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok, indicating that they “resist paying for music until you go beat the f—k out of them.”
The 72-year-old management mainstay, who hasn’t hesitated to voice his opinion of big-name content platforms in the past, disclosed his firmly worded stance on social networks in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. This piece was published late last week, just before the Full Stop Management exec and chairman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer, receiving the Ahmet Ertegun Award. Irving Azoff nonchalantly noted in the article that Travis Scott is “unmanageable” and opined: “I don’t think there’s that many smart people in our business.”
And after emphasizing that he continues to manage musicians as part of a larger effort to pursue artist-rights causes – not solely due to the far-reaching financial benefits delivered by his star-studded client roster – the Music Artists Coalition co-founder turned his attention to social platforms’ unwillingness to “pay fair market value” for music.
“These people, when they start out – whether it’s Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, whatever – they resist paying for music until you go beat the f—k out of them,” stated the longtime Eagles manager. “And then of course, none of them pay fair market value and they get away with it. Your company’s worth $30 billion and you can’t spend 20 grand for a song that becomes a phenomenon on your channel? Even when they pay, artists don’t get enough.
“Music, as a commodity, is more important than it’s ever been, and more unfairly monetized for the creators. And that’s what creates an opportunity for people like me,” finished the former Live Nation executive chairman and Ticketmaster CEO.
Notably, the Illinois-born music exec doubled down on these ideas during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech. Standing before a couch and a bookshelf in his residence, trophy at his side, Azoff said, “My mantra since day one has been: Do what’s right for the artist, and in turn that decision will be right for you. I can honestly say that strategy hasn’t failed me once.
“No one has taught me more about the importance of protecting artist rights than Don Henley. We’ve reached a crossroads in the music business today. It’s time for rules to be broken, but they won’t break themselves. If you are a young artist or executive watching this today and I can give you any advice, it’s be brave. Own as much as you can. Depend on no one but yourselves. Protect intellectual property at all costs.”
The Fast Times at Ridgemont High co-producer then thanked his family, including his wife of 42 years, Shelli, and his grandchildren and children. Addressing the latter, the ever-straightforward Global Music Rights founder stated: “Thank you for not being the f—k-ups your mother and I worried you could be.”