Last week, the Writers Guild Of America went on strike. The union’s negotiations with studios and streaming services were going nowhere, and it seems like the strike could go on for months. Public sympathy seems to be on the side of the writers, as it should be. Some of the writers’ allies are people you might not expect — people like, for instance, Snoop Dogg.
Snoop Dogg brought up the writers’ strike last week in a panel discussion at the Milken Institute, an economic think tank that’s not exactly known to be sympathetic to workers’ concerns. In discussion with Variety executive editor Shirley Halperin and Gamma Records co-founder Larry Jackson, Snoop brought up streaming services’ insignificant payouts to musicians and draw a line between that and the Writers Guild’s demands:
Streaming gotta get they shit together ’cause I don’t understand how the fuck you get paid off of that shit. Could somebody explain to me how you could get a billion streams and not get a million dollars? That shit don’t make sense to me. I don’t know who the fuck running the streaming industry — if you in here or not — but n***a, you need to give us some information on how to track these monies down. Cause one plus one ain’t adding up to two. That shit don’t add up. And I have to say, that’s a lot of the main gripe with a lot of us artists. We do major numbers with streams in this shit, but it don’t add up to the money. Where the fuck is the money?
When I first came out, my records would sell based off of physical. If you sold a million copies — $9.99, nine million dollars, you get this percentage, that’s what it is. So if I sell how many streams, how much money do I get? It’s not being translated, and it’s not working for the artist right now, and I just want to speak to that in the music industry. That’s fucked up, and we need to figure that out, the same way the writers are figuring out.
The writers are striking because [of] streaming. They can’t get paid. Because when it’s on the platform, it’s not like in the box office. In the box office, if it does all these numbers, you may get a up. Oh, it did this many? Here’s another check! But on streaming, you got 300,000 hours, and somebody watched a movie. Where’s the money? And I know I’m going off of script right now, but fuck it. This is business. This is business. This is a room full of businesspeople, and somebody may hear this and be able to do something about it so that the next artist don’t have to struggle or cry or figure out how to get to his money. Because some of these artists are streaming millions and millions and millions of fuckin’ streams, and they don’t got no millions of dollars in they pockets.
No lies! As ARS Technica points out, Snoop also talked about the advancement of AI and the resignation of Google’s Geoffery Hinton:
I got a AI right now that they did made for me. This n****a could talk to me. Me and this n***a could hold a real conversation, for real for real. It’s blowing my mind ’cause I watched movies on this as a kid years ago. When I see this shit, I’m like, “What is going on?” And I heard the old dude that created AI is like, “This is not safe ’cause the AIs got their own minds, and these motherfuckers gonna start doing they own shit.” I’m like, is we in a fuckin’ movie right now or what? The fuck, man? So do I need to invest in AI so I can have one with me? Do y’all know? Shit! What the fuck? I’m lost.
You can watch Snoop’s full panel discussion at the Milken Institute website.