Elly Jackson, singer of English electro pop outfit La Roux, claims to have made no profit from almost eight million record sales. Jackson said that despite hit singles, like Bulletproof, and releasing La Roux’s second album, Trouble in Paradise, she still struggles to break even.
“I’ve never made any money from record sales, and we sold nearly 8 million records if you count all the singles. There’s something not right about that,” Jackson revealed in an interview with Digital Spy.
The singer released Trouble in Paradise, the long-awaited follow up to her 2009 debut earlier this year but insists the album will not make any money from physical sales. “I spent two years on Trouble in Paradise and I most likely won’t make any money out of it,” she said. “The only money I will make is from radio play … if you’ve got a five-piece band like I have, you find it very difficult to break even. We don’t break even.”
While Jackson, in an earlier interview, put some of that blame onto her record label for not supporting the album enough, she does lament a loss of monetary value in music today. “I don’t think we’re instilling the value of music into a younger generation,” she says. “It’s also really scary that people can listen to such low quality files and not get a headache. It freaks me out.”
Her sentiments echo comments made by the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association chairman Paul Quirk last week, who claimed that U2‘s decision to publish their new album, Songs of Innocence, straight to users’ iTunes libraries for free, cheapens the value of music and makes life difficult for up-and-coming acts.
“Giving away music like this is as damaging to the value of music as piracy, and those who will suffer most are the artists of tomorrow,” said Quirk. “U2 have had their career, but if one of the biggest rock bands in the world are prepared to give away their new album for free, how can we really expect the public to spend £10 ($18) on an album by a newcomer?”
While hardly a newcomer, Jackson maintains that if she wants to profit at all from her music she’ll have to refine her live show and start booking bigger stages. “I don’t think we should all be like the ’80s and have 20 cars, be millionaires and be like George Michael or anything like that,” Jackson continued, “but there’s a happy medium that, at the moment, isn’t being met.”
“Thank God we’re really passionate about what we do and we don’t mind when we lose money,” explained Jackson. “In a way, with money not coming from record sales, live has excelled and there are a lot of bands who never used to have to rely on it as much as they do now. It means you really have to step it up. You have to be a reputable live act. I think that’s a good thing. It’s certainly pushing us.”
La Roux’s new album Trouble in Paradise is out now.