What do you think about "streaming"?
Author - Jon Eno

Good or bad?

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The Good...

“There are half a billion people that listen to music online and the vast majority are doing so illegally. But if we bring those people over to the legal side and Spotify, what is going to happen is we are going to double the music industry and that will lead to more artists creating great new music” – Daniel Elk

There are a number of streaming platforms currently on the market, however the biggest by far is Spotify whose CEO believes that streaming is positive benefit for all musicians. Spotify has essentially made all music portable and accessible, everyone in the world can stream or promote their music through these platforms. It must also be acknowledged that streaming is a choice, artists do not have to submit their work for these platforms. This approach is summed up nicely by artists such as Taylor Swift and Nicholas Payton…

“Okay, you can stay at home and Spotify, or YouTube, or you can get off your ass and come listen to what real musicians making real music sound like. And, hey, it doesn’t have to be me, but if I’m in town, then yeah, you should definitely check me out” – Nicholas Payton

As “consumption” of art (TV, Music etc) move to subscription platforms our artists have never been in a stronger position to “take control” of their own creations. This is surely a good thing???

The Bad...

“Back before Napster and Spotify, we toured to promote record sales.
Now we make records to promote tour dates” – James McMurtry

The quote above succinctly states some of the problems with streaming. Artists used to view “records” as part of their income revenue, however, it is widely publicised that the revenues from streaming platforms such as Spotify are very poor. So is this a problem? Do artists really have a choice?

When you add in production and distribution costs (even with LandR or Distrokid), the artist is unlikely to be able to earn enough to support themselves or a family and herein lies the paradox. They need streaming, but they cannot exist without streaming, therefore the “art” will cease and eventually the democratisation agenda of Spotify will fail.

Patrick Carney is quoted as saying…

“The owner of Spotify is worth something like 3 billion dollars … he’s richer than Paul McCartney and he’s 30 and he’s never written a song”.

Is this an issue?

Where do we stand?

Having witnessed the evolution of recorded music from vinyl, to cassette, CD (mini disk) and now streaming what strikes us most is the damage journey for the artist. As CEO of Hot House Music, I have had the great pleasure of helping young people carve out careers in all areas of music from recording through to performance. I can categorically state that “recorded” music is no longer a significant revenue, however, it has evolved into a marketing tool to promote other sales (live music and merchandise).

Whilst the world evolves, there is something inherently unfair in the current status quo. We understand that “streaming” is a valuable addition to a customer centric consummation, however, as the recent crisis has recently exposed, artists cannot afford to continue with the current relationship. Music is about collaboration, equity and parity. We believe that a few small adjustments would make a considerable difference to all artists without damaging the business model of the streaming platforms.

We appreciate “streaming” and believe that the world is evolving, however, we would like our alumni to benefit financially from their artistic endeavours. Music is the glue that binds a society, we need to democratise access to music whilst “valuing” those who create and commercialise the results!

If you have a moment please can you send your thoughts and experiences through to the “Economics of Streaming Committee” https://committees.parliament.uk/submission/#/evidence/273/preamble

We all need to stand up for an equal and fair society, you decide what this is!

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