I know I’ve spoken about this topic briefly on our podcast, but I want to get more in-depth with my thoughts on the subject.
I am going to flat-out say it streaming services are not sabotaging musicians. If anything they open up opportunities for lesser known artists to be competitive in more markets. The only musicians that seem to care are ones that have already lined their pockets with their fan’s money.
Taylor Swift had this to say about it:
“It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”
To me that seems like she sees her music as an opportunity to line her pockets. Her label, Big Machine, claims “The facts show that the music industry was much better off before Spotify hit these shores.” They also stated that Taylor Swift was only paid $500,000 from Spotify for domestic plays last year. This is equal to her selling 50,000 records, compared to the millions she typically sells. Taylor Swift sees herself as a mega-star and wants to set the price for her own albums instead of asking fans what they think its worth. It seems clear to me that her own fans don’t want to pay what she thinks her music is worth. It seems like she doesn’t want things to change or progress because she might make less than she was before.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the way these services handle paying artists is extremely shitty. They do not care for art and artists very much at all. I’m a firm believer that people should be compensated for their work and I don’t think these services pay out . It’s very disgusting. I also hate the idea of streaming services that are being ran as a record label. There should not be exclusive contracts with these streaming services just to squeeze a few more dollars out of fans. It just isn’t right. Every person should be able to listen to music somehow even if they’re broke. Art is not about exclusivity and how much money you can make. It’s about the life, love, and human interactions; otherwise it is meaningless.
The biggest problem is there is an unwillingness to change in the music industry. Record companies are too busy trying to save their profits and not looking forward and innovating things. People are looking for the fastest way to get their entertainment and streaming services seem to be the fastest and most reliable way now. For me personally I think it is nice to always have access to music I like anywhere I go with my phone or computer. That is why I do pay for Spotify. It’s reasonably priced for what you are getting. It is great for consumers.
I think the most reasonable answer for all of this is that these streaming services should pay more per play. Right now they seem to change the rules to whatever benefits them the most. They’re taking in money from advertising and subscriptions but only pay out pennies to artists. I don’t foresee this happening in the near future and I’m not sure what it will take to make this happen. Will we as consumers be forced to boycott these services? Will artist start pulling their music? Will they realize on their own that it isn’t good business to screw over artists? All I can say is that I hope so.