Catching Up with Streaming

See why Paul says change is hard, and Roger thinks this is just another cycle 


Paul:  Over the last month Roger and I have been talking about social media, streaming in particular and its effects on the artists and song writers of today. Needless to say all these platforms have become necessary in today’s music industry, but they are working with an outdated system to properly compensate the artists and song writers causing a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation for the most part. We need social media and streaming to get our music heard, seen and purchased, but the downside is that it seems to be cutting into the bottom line of purchase. I saw recently that it would take 288 million streams of a song to earn the same amount as a Spotify employee, I don’t quote this as fact but it seems to me to fit the bill.  *see source links below

What can we do about it you might ask, well I’m not going to tell you not to use these services, however if you are a musician, song writer, performer that has your work being used by them its time to stand up and speak up to get the system changed. One very good thing about social media is that it can and does call for action sometimes, and people do respond. As we all know the wheels of government roll very slowly, and I think that’s when people disconnect from the movement, but on this subject I believe it needs relentless effort. We’ve seen it work on political campaigns, on social issues, even on the sharing of good ideas that become part of our everyday lives, so why not on royalty and copyright laws? I see more and more of my artist friends taking up the cause and hoisting the flag to start the conversation. Change is hard, but necessary in these ever changing times.

So even if you’re not a songwriter or artist, but a music lover I ask simply that you write your representatives in congress, and share this with your friends to do the same. We can make our voices heard if we keep the conversation going.


Roger:  There is this whole thing about streaming all coming to a head and everybody going crazy trying to figure out what to do about the differences between the companies and the artist.  The value that’s placed on things for the artist is actually pretty ridiculously low across the board.  But, if you think about it, it’s really just another cycle of the industry that has happened many times before.  When cassettes came out the whole industry went crazy because sales on regular albums went down because people were able to make their own cassettes and different things, and how much money are we losing, blah, blah, blah…Same thing happened for vhs tapes for the film industry, and happened again when cd’s became burnable – it’s just kind of the next technology to come out. 

Realistically, I think streaming was created with the internet over time, it was kind of just an add on.  It didn’t cost a whole lot of money and was a quick way for people to get the tunes, but everything else, albums, cd’s, etc., were still the same sales factor as far as music goes – but it grew much faster than anybody could have possibly expected.  Every time there is a change in medium the whole cycle goes repeats for a while where people feel they are losing money.  The major companies take a long time to adjust their bottom lines.  There was a time when major labels were showing billion dollar losses, but that’s because their bottom line was still based on the wrong product.  Now that’s it’s outgrown everything else it would be good to try to put some value back into people’s work and make it more realistic for people to support themselves while creating music. 

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it – everybody trying to get their product out into the world and doing all the jobs that are involved in making that happen, are making a lot less off of their own work than people who are doing data entry! I think that eventually streaming will settle into its own place and kind of become a commercial free radio alternative.  It’s great that you can carry all your music everywhere you go, so streaming is not a bad thing – it’s just been a very popular new thing.  Eventually everything will balance out and everyone will be happy.  I am sure that down the road, who knows what it will be - but there will be another medium coming out, and the whole hubbub will start all over again.  So, yeah, catching up with streaming is an industry thing that needs to catch up, they need to start working with the artist   and find a middle ground so people can support themselves while creating and everybody can get the music they love then everyone will be happy.


Reference Links:  

-  Music Industry’s Next Battle (outlines the Berkley report into shorter version):  http://n.pr/1dYnZdF

-  The Trichordist:  Artists For An Ethical and Sustainable Internet:  https://thetrichordist.com/