The music industry has changed…
Artists are struggling, yet ‘music users’ think the music industry has changed for the better! However if you look beneath that surface and it’s not hard to find the damage that huge corporate backed music streaming services are doing to the entire music industry.
As Tom Gray of the #brokenrecord campaign says
“The problem is that streaming always cannibalised culture and gave all of the income to a very small amount of the market. It always did that. It’s just now it’s deeply unhealthy. Now it’s dangerously unhealthy.”
So, when a platform like Spotify gives users 70 million tracks for next to nothing – users love it.
However it’s killing music, it’s damaging creativity and artists have found out in the last year that even if you’re a successful artist surviving on streaming revenues alone it’s impossible except for the 1% of lucky artists.
Lucky? Well maybe that’s harsh – talent, mainstream marketability and luck all contribute, but ultimately what really matters is does the artist fit into the platform’s model to generate profit from the artist’s art – music.
What do huge corporate driven music platforms offer most artists?
Sadly 99% of artists on huge corporate platforms receive at best a tiny financial reward, (not even a fixed pay per stream reward ). Yes they get the opportunity to showcase on the platform but in reality this predominantly translates to artists giving away their art and perpetuating the platforms domination of the market.
So if most of the artists don’t profit who does?
Corporate platforms themselves profit, but worse still they are also geared to favour & reward huge labels & distributors – surprise surprise they are NOT geared to favour upcoming individual artists, hard working garage bands, niche music, diversity etc etc. These platforms literally spend a huge amount of the income on creating further market dominance. They put this down as running costs & marketing etc but it’s really ploughing the revenues that should go to artists in to growth that rewards the platform owners/shareholders.
This pursuit of domination crushes all, it dominates so much that artists feel they have little option other than to use these platforms despite repeatedly being told…
“you are giving your art away and you’ll get very little benefit from doing so.”
It’s a relentless cycle which at least looks to many like a rigged monopoly.
What advice can you offer small/new artists to gain real success on the streaming giants?
My advice don’t support these monopolies, if you are trying to get your name out there support platforms that are transparent and want the best for artists not just the best for their shareholders and dominance. Why not try gotohear.com and/or bandcamp.com
Ultimately battling for survival on the corporate music mega-platforms is a loaded game with little chance of winning.
99% of artists don’t get a decent return from their music placed on the big platforms.
They don’t get help, they don’t get marketing, they don’t get advice, they don’t get resources, they don’t get enough money – as little as 13% of income goes to the artist on such platforms.
It’s a desperate and frustrating situation for artists and it’s getting worse as the dominance grows, maybe it’s time we tried something different!