It’s no secret that everything has changed since technology has evolved the way it has in the past decade. Times are changing! Long gone are the days where people are buying whole physical albums just to listen to one or two songs. Nowadays, people would much rather stream their favorite songs from a subscription service or just download their music. The same way that people are no longer buying or renting movies, they are choosing to stream them from Netflix. People are refusing to physically go into casinos to play slots, instead they are choosing to use Pokerstarscasino website, and gone are the days of leaving the house to go buy groceries when you can order and have them delivered to you from Amazon. As technology continues to take over lives and streaming becoming the predominant way of accessing music, here are the effects of streaming on the music industry.
Artists just aren’t getting paid like they once were
It’s no denying that when album sales were booming and music videos were being played on tv, artists made a lot more money. There has been numerous issues and controversies centered around streaming music that many musicians have noticed. One example of this is Taylor Swift’s public removal of her music from all free streaming services and her open letter to Apple Music. Swift wrote in a Tumblr post responding to news that Apple Music would not be paying artists for streams accumulated during a user’s 3 month trial, “This is the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.” Shortly after this, Apple announced that artists would, in fact, get paid, and Swift even went on to produce adverts with them. However, Swift still doesn’t have any of her music on Spotify and many other streaming services after her camp claimed they didn’t get paid as much per year for her music as Spotify claimed to have paid.
It’s no longer about releasing albums
With consumers hearing a hit song and immediately downloading from their favorite music subscription services, such as Pandora, Spotify, or Apple Music, there is no reason for fans to anticipate albums anymore. These streaming services are either free or charge a monthly fee, which makes royalties paid to musicians even smaller. It has been proven that consumers only actually listen to one or two songs from an entire music album, and with that being said, record labels and artists are not focusing on releasing albums, but instead, they are focusing on releasing the next hottest song to top the charts.
Record label revenues are steadily declining
It is definitely much harder for artists to make the money that they once made in the music industry. Not only are music royalties almost nonexistent, but purchased MP3 downloads and album sales have steadily declined over the last several years. In 1999, Napster, one of the first music downloading services was established, and that was one of the last successful years for the music industry. That was the case up until streaming became popular in 2016. Today, with over 100 million subscribers across different streaming platforms, it has proven to get the record companies out of their rut. Not through traditional sales, however, but instead, through a percentage of the streaming subscriptions and advertisements on their artists’ records.
Songs aren’t topping the charts like they used to
The effects of streaming music on the charts, both worldwide and in the UK, is quite disappointing. Every 100 streams of a song equal one sale, according to the UK official charts. This rule is not only making the chart inaccurate, but it is allowing the chart to be much easier to manipulate. Statistics show that only 86 songs entered the top 40 in the first half of last year, which is a huge decline from a decade ago when that number was 230. This just proves that fewer artists are breaking into the charts, making it much harder for newer artists to break into the mainstream music chart. Streaming music can be very easily manipulated seeing as to how certain songs can be put into playlists and played without the user’s request, whereas if a user went and purchased a single, it would mean that they genuinely liked the music.
Many experts would argue that the streaming of music has saved the industry. The validity of this statement greatly depends on the record label in question, the artist, and the consumer. Undeniably, streaming has changed the world of music in more ways than one. The focus on creating hit singles rather than entire albums, the revenue model, and consumer satisfaction are all now key factors with the digitization of how music is listened to.