I think it is a wonderful development of our time that so much music, and other media are streaming and available to anyone on the internet, regardless of physical place. To me, it’s an exciting thing when someone in the most seemingly remote part of the world, has discovered your music and was able to hear it instantaneously because of streaming. I do wish artists could also benefit more from streaming, but figuring out a way for this to happen feels beyond my scope–I’m busy enough just trying to survive while continuing to make music. But others have given this problem much thought already, and done the research; see especially David Lowery’s excellent piece “Letter to Emily White” .
I don’t have enough experience with Spotify to say if it’s worth it, but my feeling is that if it helps expose my work to a larger audience, then that’s great. I’m sure that CD sales are declining (because CDs are essentially garbage and I don’t know very many people who buy them anymore) but I don’t think vinyl is affected as much by streaming or downloading. I actually think that being able to hear the music on the internet first helps motivate someone who likes the music to then buy the vinyl, because there’s less risk–you’ve heard it, you know you like the song, and now you’ll hopefully, invest in the superior format, vinyl. (Is it obvious that I’m starting to speak now with my audiophile/vinyl snob voice here? ) …My record, Ætherea, for example, was recorded and mastered specifically to be a vinyl-only release because that’s how I prefer to listen to music. I started the manufacturing process for the vinyl in Aug and after 4 months and 4 test pressings, switched pressing plants and am starting over because the quality of the sound of the vinyl was poor. I want the vinyl to be an excellent listening experience that is another level from the digital streaming so that anyone who purchases it can hear it as closely to the way it was recorded and meant to be heard.
So many bands/artists are touring so much now, and audiences are not buying as much merch or even attending as many live shows. I know that artists are having to tour more and yes, sell/make more merchandise as a way to make money, but is this the answer to making up for revenue that streaming has bitten into? I don’t know. I doubt it. So many bands/artists are touring so much now, and audiences are not buying as much merch or even attending as many live shows–that’s what I’ve been hearing from friends who’ve gone to Europe in recent years. I hear that licensing songs can be more lucrative. But, I’m the wrong person to ask–I’m just one person who for the last 3 years, kept a full-time job to fund my creative passion and, pay the bills. I am actually grappling with what it means to be a working musician–is it recording+releasing albums+touring to promote those albums+licensing your music to be in some movie or commercial? Or maybe it’s just dropping any expectation that you will make any kind of living off your art and just simply focusing on creating art and f*ck all else.
Honestly, I have less and less desire to think of the business of music, and the latter is where my head is at more and more these days. That, and yoga.
Is streaming a curse or a blessing?
Well, I suppose it depends on who you’re asking. Some record labels may say it’s a curse, but those who are riding the crest of the New (internet) World Order probably can harness streaming to their advantage and turn it into a blessing. I think it most likely benefits the emerging/independent artist most by getting his/her work out there to people who may otherwise not discover it. But I do think the paltry royalties that the services like Spotify, pay to artists could be much more fair.
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Dies ist der sechste Teil einer kleinen Reihe, in der ich Musiker zu ihrer Sicht der Dinge befrage. Ob es sich dabei um einen ausführlicher Artikel, eine kurzes Statement, ein Audiofile, ein Video oder gar einen Song handelt – das Format und die Länge sind nebensächlich, die Meinung nicht. Warum ich das mache? Ich finde es wichtig, das wir alle über die Auswirkungen des Streaming nachdenken, bevor es zu spät ist. Für wen oder was auch immer.