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Raye Lashes Out at Labels for Not Paying Artists Enough for Songwriting

'It's disgusting, the whole industry is disgusting,' Raye is quoted as saying of the music business.

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Raye recently made headlines by winning a record-setting number of BRIT Awards – she won six, in case you missed the story – and now she’s making headlines again, this time by taking record labels to task for failing to pay songwriters as much as they should.

It’s certainly not the first time that Raye has had less than flattering things to say about the music industry, having famously quit her label when they refused to release her debut album, but in the “Wired” column of the Daily Star, she’s quoted as offering up a new round of criticism about the greed of label execs.

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Raye at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards, November 2023

"For an industry that profits off songs, you got these CEOs and big label execs living in their fat huge Chelsea mansions, living a beautiful life,” said Raye. “Meanwhile, songwriters you are profiting off are broke, can't afford rent and fighting over scraps of publishing that is sat in bank accounts for two years before they receive a penny, because publishers have kept it in there so they can collect interest and make a whole separate business.”

She continued by providing an itemized description of where the problem lies:

"Every single song that's released in the world, there are 100 royalty points. The label will take, say, 80 points. The artist, in a good deal, will take maybe 20, 15, or maybe 12 and then producers get four points, but it has to come out of the artist's points. And the songwriter doesn't even get one point. It's disgusting, the whole industry is disgusting. That's one little example of what goes on behind closed doors where there is no accountability.”

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For all of the acclaim and success being enjoyed by Raye in the UK, she hasn't quite yet made the jump to superstardom in the States, so it's perhaps worth offering a bit of her back story.

She released her debut EP, Welcome to the Winter, in 2014 as a free download via Soundcloud, after which she signed to Polydor, which issued her second EP – the appropriately-entitled Second – in 2016. She first entered the UK top 20 with 2017’s “Decline,” featuring Mr. Eazi, made it into the top 10 with 2020’s “Secrets,” with Regard, and then made it still higher with 2021’s “Bed,” with Joel Corry and David Guetta, which hit No. 3. Finally, after escaping from her increasingly frustrating contract with Polydor, Raye began releasing singles as an indie artist, and by the time she released her third single, “Escapism,” featuring 070 Shake, she had found her way to the top of the UK Singles chart and – at long last – made her way onto the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 22.

While Raye’s debut LP, My 21st Century Blues, has climbed to No. 2 on the UK Albums chart, it has only made it to No. 58 in the US. With all the buzz around her of late, however, there’s every reason to suspect that she’ll be finding further success in the near future.

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