The music business can be very cruel, and most artists do not find it easy to make money. A brief explanation came out recently when the UK industry discovered that artists managed to make more money by selling vinyl in 2016 than getting paid for views on YouTube. BPI data shows that vinyl sales in the UK are growing for the ninth year in a row, with sales of about 3.2 million records and 41.7 million in revenue for publishing houses and artists. By contrast, a music video streaming, dominated by YouTube, made only £ 25.5 million.
Distributing illegal content
Google directs the audience to YouTube, which is a winning combination for them but a huge loss for artists. YouTube has announced that they have recently paid more than a billion dollars to the music industry around the world for advertising that is being displayed on videos. YouTube claims to generate money from “light” audience that would never subscribe to paid music services, so this is the money that artists would not otherwise see. The IFPI claims that with 800 million of music fans, YouTube pays slightly more than $ 1 per user for the whole year. This is a pale picture compared to revenue generated by other services, such as Apple, Deezer or Spotify.
Streaming revenue could potentially overtake physical sales in the upcoming period, and therefore become the largest revenue generator for artists in the UK. Things are changing slowly, as more and more people are choosing premium service subscriptions. It could be even more positive if video streaming platforms start paying as much as they make out of music. The industry believes that YouTube unjustly uses the benefits of legal irregularities that protect them from liability due to the huge amount of protected material that the users are illegally uploading.
Publishers believe that YouTube’s ability to monetize video content without a license places YouTube in a position of power. On the other hand, services, such as Spotify ask for permission before making music available to their audience. Recently, the European Commission has suggested that YouTube and other similar services are subject to the same copyright rules as other streaming services. The European Parliament will vote on reform although YouTube is loudly lobbying against it. The biggest issue musicians are facing right now is that their most significant source of online music, video streaming services, are underpaying them. This is a huge global mistake in the music world and therefore legal reforms are inevitable.
Threat to creativity
Popular online music services are affecting the essential need for creating music. Access to all the information the internet offers may have some positive features, however, it transforms the planet into a small village where everyone solely recycles music successfully or less successfully. The basic essence of progress and individual work based on encouraging creativity and spirituality has been destroyed. Music will certainly not develop in future as it was developing through its history. It is very likely that the robots built into the new generation will take over the dominance and create a seemingly pleasant feeling of inspiration or emotion in people’s memory that will remind of music.