Jamhouse Blog

Streaming: The lesser of two evils?

Streaming music is no longer an idea for the future; we are right in the middle of the streaming generation. In theory, this is a great thing - we live in a singles market and a society of instant gratification, and instant music is a simple extension of that. But in a world with so much knowledge, it is interesting to find that most of us do not know what we are getting ourselves into - like most things, we know what we pay, but we don’t really know where it goes- do we? 

Let's take a look at the recent stand Taylor Swift took against apple. She wouldn’t stream her music on the new streaming services, as they were not going to pay artists for three months trial period - a large oversight or questionable decision by the Apple Corporation. BUT - the decision was reversed when the company decided that they would pay their artists - and Swift was back on board.  

This wasn't the first time that Swift has stood against streaming music. In 2014, Swift did not release her 1989 album on Spotify - the world's largest streaming facility. Swift argued that music shouldn’t be inherently free, that a pronounced value should be placed on music, and that streaming creates an attitude that should be free is hurting the industry. This idea has been echoed throughout the music industry - performers are getting gig fees cut left right and center and musicians are losing all streams of income, because someone else is always willing to do the same work for free- often because they believe they have to.   

But right or wrong, Spotify have taken a different approach to the idea of music streaming. They argue ""If you've got millions and millions of people using those services, at least they're in a commercial ecosystem, "Before, they weren't — they were completely un-monetized." ( ) They are of course referring to the illegal downloading and black market of the music industry. In other words, something is better than nothing. 

But is something better than nothing, or is this simply an attitude that has been created by the instant, on demand world that we live in? Portishead recently revealed that they received a mere $2500 from 34 million streams. 

What other time in the history of the commercial music industry could you listen to every song you can imagine for less than the cost of your weekly cup of coffee? But then, why should you pay more for a cup of coffee than you do to listen to your favorite artist? 

Author:  D. Whelan for Jamhouse Creative
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