As part of a feature story included in the June 27 issue of Billboard magazine, singer/producer The-Dream spoke on race and how it relates to the music industry.
The crooner, who recently launched his own record label, was first questioned about Taylor Swift pulling her music off of Spotify. He revealed that he supports Swift for what she did, but then stated that he could not pull off such a move as a black artist.
“I can support it, but I could never do the same,” The-Dream said. “I’m black. It’s a race thing. It’s always going to be a race thing. For one, if I took my records off of Spotify, it would affect the people who listen to my music for free and may not have the means otherwise. Taylor Swift fans probably have the means to go and buy a Taylor Swift record.”
When asked what role race plays in how artists get paid, The-Dream elaborated on his thoughts on race and the music industry. According to the crooner, there are no limits for what a white artist who has at least one hit can do with their music career.
“If you got a hit and you’re white, there are no limits to what you can do,” he said. “If you’re black and you have a hit today but can’t do it again tomorrow, then your ass is out of here. When the industry uses you up, that’s it. You’re gone. It’s a constant battle for our culture. We can’t say no to radio, we can’t say no to Spotify, and we can’t have a concert because nobody will come. And the whole time, everybody is taking from our culture to enhance the pop side of things. By the way, the pop side doesn’t mean you have to be white. Bruno Mars is pop. Nobody listens to Bruno Mars like he’s a black artist. Which I’m sure for him, he’s like, ‘Thank God.’ There are urban artists and then there are pop artists, and urban artists get things taken from them. We create the swag, and everybody knows it.”
During his interview, The-Dream also shared his belief that “artists are treated like slaves.”