You could easily say that streaming services do not help new and up and coming artists, although Spotify is now offering to push your music out further in exchange for reduced royalties - rebranded Payola in my opinion!
This is an extremely difficult time to be trying to make a living from music. But the music business continues on, so who is getting rewarded if it’s not the artists? I don’t think a lot has changed in many years, it’s still the advertisers, the distribution platforms themselves, labels, and record companies just like before.
I will offer you my 2 cents. Well actually in today’s money that is more like my 0.0002 cents!
Have we turned our music consumption into a fast food type scenario, a use once and discard way of living. Devaluing nearly all of it and making the select few benefit?
We seem to live in a society that consumes creativity at great pace and at the same time devalues it by offering little financial reward for the streams and plays. We don't need to be rich, but we don't want to have to be the starving artist either. Is there a middle ground?
There was arecent petition to get Spotify to pay 1cent per play. Great an idea as that was, I think this could actually bankrupt Spotify if adopted. There certainly needs to be a fairer distribution of profit, but Spotify has perhaps become vilified as a result of their reach and success. With so much music being added (remember that is in the region of 40,000 tracks being added every day), the money pot is spread thinner and thinner. The payment is based on the number of streams compared to total streams on the platform as a way to weigh each song’s value. This makes total sense. The more music there is the greater the battle for your one little song on there to be heard and for it’s humble stream counts to be noticed amongst all the others.
I think it's possibly better to see Spotify as a shop window for your music, but for a new artist trying to begin, it’s not a place to earn your living from. It's a single shop in a massive endless mall of shops. Not everybody is even going to walk past it!
Other shop windows are available but not everyone has heard of those other places. We all know Spotify so a bit like Amazon on the internet a lot of people gravitate there naturally rather than popping into the artisan shops. I do see BandCamp as a great alternative for the Indie artist, but it’s not yet designed for the mainstream everyday consumer.
If you want your music to be heard then unfortunately it comes with the territory that you will have to market your music somehow, otherwise no one will hear it. You are not going to get discovered without yourself or others making a noise about what you do and why you are worth a listen. First you have to value your creativity yourself, and be proud to share it, then with a bit of opportunity and preparation you will make some luck and start being noticed a bit more.
I believe a true creative will just create whatever but of course that doesn’t pay the rent. If it's your sole income, these are very tough times with no gigs - and that’s not your fault. Maybe it will be those that have diversified somehow or who have learned to monetise better will survive. Let’s hope creativity does not suffer as a result.
Today I help singers and songwriters explore their own potential, working alongside to transform their ideas into fully finished songs they are proud of.
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