The Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) demands answers from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Specifically, the nonprofit organization is questioning artist compensation from music streamed on Twitch, one of Amazon’s subsidiaries. In response to Bezo’s lack of knowledge regarding Twitch practices, the ARA created an open letter to find answers.
We need answers, Mr. Bezos.
ARA Challenges Bezos on Twitch Royalties https://t.co/rZSjU8NhK1
— Artist Rights Alliance (@artistrightsnow) August 10, 2020
Since virtual streaming, live sets, festivals, and more swept the music industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still many factors that aren’t quite figured out yet.
One of these new arising issues questions Twitch and the lack of compensation for artists. At a hearing towards the end of July, congressman Kelly Armstrong questioned Bezos about this topic. Armstrong asked Bezos, “My understanding is that Twitch allows users to stream music but does not license the music. Is that correct?” In response, Bezos claimed he needed to check back with his office and ended saying, “I don’t know.”
After two weeks with no word from Bezos following the conference, the ARA took matters in their own hands. The organization penned an open letter to Bezos voicing multiple concerns including his inconclusive response on music licensing and artist royalties on Twitch.
The ARA is very critical of Bezo’s response to Armstrong. In the open letter, the ARA wrote that Bezo’s “inability and unwillingness” to answer this question regarding Twitch’s practices appalled the organization. Additionally, the organization added, “…the company owes creators more than the willful blindness and vague platitudes you offered during your Congressional testimony.”
As the ARA continues searching for clarity on these issues, Bezos has failed to respond just yet. However, it’s likely this issue and more will continue to surface until there are answers directly from Bezos.
Artist Rights Alliance
The Artist Rights Alliance is a nonprofit organization. The group advocates for music creators to ensure fair treatment and defend fundamental rights for all artists specifically in the digital world.
The ARA is headquartered in Washington, DC, and is run by current and former artists. The organization follows a Bill of Rights including the right to control work, the right to artist freedom, and more. The organization thrives off an executive board of 7 members and over a hundred council members including artists such as Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow.