Opinion: Music streaming is beneficial for the industry

Streaming services account for 75% of all music consumption, yet many still argue that they harmful to the industry. I feel the benefits outweigh the current problems with music streaming.

The problems with music streaming

The main issue that people associate with music streaming is the low level of revenue artists receive for their music.

It is estimated that for 1 million streams of a song, an artist will typically only earn around $7,000 (£5,378), which in relation to selling a million records seems an insignificant amount.

If an artist sold a million CD’s for example averaging at around £8, even if the artist only received 10% of the sales they would still make just shy of £1 million.

James Simpson, a member of the band Forever Fossils does agree that the royalties from streaming services are low, however understands that they do still provide a platform for artists.

He said: “Streaming services gives musicians a voice that perhaps without these platforms they wouldn’t have.

“You’re seeing many artists breaking through on their popularity of content on the streaming platforms.

But it comes at a price, literally. The royalties you get from these are low and that’s an understatement.”

Artist Exposure

The benefits of the publicity as James said, is one of the main reasons why I believe streaming services are in fact a good thing for the industry.

This is because by allowing everyone to get their music out there, it gives every artist the opportunity to be successful.

Yes, it is true that musicians are still not paid fairly for their art, but by making your music accessible to as many people as possible, it is very possible to gain a following and then use that in order to make money as a musician.

This can be done through selling out concerts, making merchandise and even through the printing of vinyl records that are currently extremely popular.

Last year in the UK alone, vinyl sales were at their highest since 1991 with 4.2million records being sold.

Earlier this year I spoke to Nick Pygott, the owner of Vinystore Jr in Canterbury about the impact music streaming has on music retailers, and he shares the opinion that music streaming can work well in conjunction with physical mediums.

He said: “I think that what it does, is it sends physical sales to be a little more niche but for those who still buy records, CDs, whatever its been an incredibly useful tool.

“What people do is they hear music and discover music on Spotify but then don’t get any sense of ownership, and if you want to own it, then you might as well own it on a format that is substantial and permanent that you can love, and vinyl lends itself really nicely to that.”

Creative Freedom

Another reason why I feel music streaming is beneficial for the industry is because it can help to give the artist the creative freedom to create whatever they want.

In the past there was a fairly strict path on how to be successful in the music industry, with artists almost required to sign with record labels who often would change a band’s sound to make them more profitable.

More and more artists nowadays are unsigned, allowing them to make whatever type of music they want and based off of sales figures there is definitely an audience for it.

Chance the Rapper is arguably one of the biggest names in rap music right now, and not only is he unsigned but he also releases all of his music for free, recording over 6 million streams on Spotify a month with an estimated worth of $33 million according to Forbes.

He is not the only unsigned artist who is making a living from their music either, in 2017 revenue from unsigned artists in fact grew almost 30%, recording $472 million.

Consumer

Consuming music has never been easier than it is today, all you need is an internet connection and you have access to more music than you could even believe.

You are no longer required to go out and purchase a physical piece of music such as a CD or vinyl, but instead can get access to a plethora of music for as little as £5 a month through streaming services.

For the consumer this is incredible, as it allows the listener the option to experiment and give music they would not normally spend money on a chance.

Max Minus, the keyboard player for the band ESTHER feels that in the current environment, it allows for both the artists and the consumer to benefit.

He said: “Spotify playlists are a great way of being found and with platforms using algorithms to suggest new music (in Discover Weekly, for example) this can be beneficial for both the user and the band.”

 

Do you feel music streaming is good for the industry?

Yes absolutely, it is beneficial for everyone!
Somewhat, there are still areas that need improving though.
Not really, only the consumers really benefit.
No, artists are so much worse off!
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