Driving Music, Music Tutorials, Uncategorized

Streaming Music is Destroying Music for All. All the Money is gone.

What did The Revolution really bring us?
What did The Revolution really bring us?

This article started life on the Q&A site Quora under the title: How do musicians and songwriters make any money when you can listen to any music for free? When you look at the numbers I hope you are horrified at how badly streaming has treated us and the thing we claim to love.

If you are a fan of music, please do not support Streaming services in any way as every song that you get pleasure from is stolen income. If you are a musician, no matter how tempting it may seem, give streaming services no more of you music (or maybe remove what they do have of yours). It is only through the community that a mindset and businesses that feed off it change.

No matter if a fan or musician, this is thing that must be fixed and fast. Some will say “Oh but no one wants to own music anymore.” I say “Bullshit”. Look at these numbers…

The Real Costs Of Streaming

Would you expect a cup of coffee for free?
What about a beer?

While you may think it sounds cool, you know it won’t happen – or not as an ongoing thing. Yet music is treated completely differently. Why?

This article is very revealing: What Streaming Music Services Pay (Updated for 2019)

“At $0.00473 per play, artists will need around 336,842 total plays to earn $1,472″

The scary thing is that over 330,000 plays EVERY MONTH to make a wage that is below the poverty level is not only un-achievable unless you are uber-famous, but is disturbingly wrong.

If we said each album had an average of 10 songs each and each album sold for $5.00 on Bandcamp, delivering the Act $3.50 after all fees, that amount of Plays as album Purchases would deliver $115,500 to the artist!!!! Every month!!!!

Using the same $5.00 album retail price to achieve the same $1,472 per month, 420 albums need to be sold. That is still a lot but at least significantly more doable for an Indie Act than getting 1/3 of a million plays on a system designed to funnel people away from anything but Top 40 artists.

Under the old Record Label system: with a record label that returned you $1 per album 33,000 albums would be returning you $33,000. Even if your record label only returned you $0.50 per album you would have been earning $16,500 for the same number of “plays”.

It is about the difference (assumptions above):

Streaming$1,472336,842 plays per month (un-achievable)
Bandcamp$115,500$5 Album Purchase, $3.50 to artist
Record Co.$16,500assuming $0.50 per album sale
who’s stealing the cheese

Now, I blame this all squarely on those who think that music is their entitlement. They would expect to pay $5 for that cup of coffee or a beer but not music. All are more of an “experience” than a simple product so why the difference?

The only answer I ever come to is because we can get away with it. Sure people never say it that way, always under some complaint about the Industry, or changing times, or how no one wants to own anything but it remains the same. mp3 gave people a very easy way to steal (remember “home taping is killing our industry”), they simply made up excuses to justify themselves after the fact.

If you are one of those people try this thought experiment:

  1. You write & perform a track that goes Gangnam Style. It is a social phenomenon that indicates that everyone is listening to it. It is played everywhere including on people’s earbuds on trains. Everyone has a copy of this track in their lives and they express such joy from having it.
  2. Your paycheck comes in and it is for $0.23. You wonder how seeing it is such a hit and everyone knows it.
  3. You ask around and the answer is “Oh but you do music for the love of it. We have had such pleasure and are so thankful you wrote & performed that song for us.”
  4. You ask “But how come I am not being paid my dues for all the pleasure I gave? Everyone has profited from my work except me how is this possible or fair? I can’t even eat!”
  5. They answer “Well it is the modern way. You did what you loved as your altruistic duty to our manifest need to have pleasure from your music. When are you writing your next song?”

I think your answer would need a few expletives deleted. And rightly so.

How many Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Plumbers, Teachers… are expected to give their work away free?

Music never was and never should be free unless the Composer & Performer expressly gives it away free – by that I mean the musician themselves not an agent like Spotifry who are playing their own game (and interestingly losing money at it anyway so it is well past time they changed their tune or left the stage).

I’ll say it again:

If you are a fan of music, please do not support Streaming services in any way as every song that you get pleasure from is stolen income. If you are a musician, no matter how tempting it may seem, give streaming services no more of you music (or maybe remove what they do have of yours). It is only through the community that a mindset and businesses that feed off it change.

3 thoughts on “Streaming Music is Destroying Music for All. All the Money is gone.”

  1. I do my bit. I catch stuff that interests me on you tube but it’s really more like a leisurely shopping trip. If I find something I like I’ll get it. I prefer hard copy to downloads and I’m always picking up some vinyl and assorted merch at a show. I don’t exploit the system because I believe you should be paid for your work. It’s a drop in the bucket, I know, but it’s what I’ve got.
    Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and my heart goes out to all of your great country.

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