Contrary to popular belief, fame ≠ fortune and Fantasia Barrino can attest to this.
The beloved “When I See You” singer recently shared during an interview at the Tammie Mac show that many artists are struggling financially.
A viral clip from the conversation shows Tammi Mac saying “Yea, but you have more money than we do, Fantasia,” to which the singer 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.”
This isn’t a new concept, as the music business has been a notoriously nefarious one, but to hear it spoken plainly can be jarring for those on the outside looking in.
As ESSENCE previously reported, recording contracts often leave a lot to be desired for many artists, often riddled with hidden clauses that eke monies to various entities. Nowadays, high music sales don’t automatically equate to riches.
If you’ve noticed that song lengths have gotten shorter and shorter over the years, this is why. Most popular streaming platforms operate on a pay per play basis, in which low streaming music layouts have caused song length to shorten so listeners are encouraged to replay the song more often, thus bumping up the amount artists earn.
Since a platform like Spotify pays major artists between $0.004 and $0.008 per stream, this incentivizes artists to create shorter tracks. It doesn’t hurt that short song clips have the potential to go viral on platforms like TikTok.
This method often leads to artists seeking other ways to bring in revenue, and sometimes they still fall short. Fantasia herself has shared her own money trouble over the years.
“I’m just now building myself back up,” she said during the Tammi Mac Show interview. “I lost everything twice.”
Along with complex contractual terms and fickle fan bases along with inflation-induced rising living costs, it’s no wonder that artists, even the famous ones, are having money issues.