The Truth About Music Streaming

spotify problem

OK let’s cut to the chase. I could demonstrate the merits of streaming as a promotional tool, a ‘try before you buy’ if you will. That’s the ‘cup half full’ take on the situation and a validation of the streaming model.

Here’s the problem though. How many people who used to use torrent sites now just stream either free or via a subscription streaming service. Probably quite a few who don’t bother to buy or download. Why should they? They are paying a subscription or streaming from an ethical source and they believe (however naively) that they are supporting the artists.

This myth about streaming music services (the subscription model) supporting artists is at best a crooked interpretation and at worst a malignant cancer coursing through the backbone of music culture and creativity.

Spotify have even refused to disclose their finances with regard to royalty payments. (Assume you will have to count through infinite decimal points before you find a positive integer), and yet at the same time they are paying huge amounts in licensing fees to the record companies (who co-incidentally are substantial shareholders in Spotify).

In reality the old music industry model of artists being contractually fleeced has been ushered in through the back door via the streaming model.

Sorry to mention Spotify again but the founder Daniel Ek was recently named no.10 in the UK’s rich list with a £190 million fortune. For a company only launched in 2008 that’s an incredible sum. I wonder where all the royalty money went?. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/spotify-daniel-ek-net-worth-317745

Spotify and their refusal to become transparent (we can all make an educated guess on why that won’t be soon) is tantamount to an admission of guilt. On May 22nd 2012, Radio reporter Sophie McNeill published an interview with Spotify Managing director Kate Vale. The interview was astounding in that the secrecy and lack of transparency displayed by Vale was almost comical:

McNeill: Is Spotify going to make public its finances when it comes to contracts with the labels and how much they receive per play of the songs that they own?

Vale: I don’t think so at this stage.

McNeill: Why?


Vale: I’m not sure.

McNeill: Well, can you understand then why music lovers, bands, people involved in the industry are worried about something like this that could so dramatically change the way we consume music?  And then when I ask you about disclosing it, and you say, ‘no, I don’t have a reason,’ I mean-

Vale: Well, I just don’t know to be honest.

Full article here

So, no i’m not convinced about streaming or the cloud streaming services that our kids will grow up with. The technology is fine but the archaic and manipulative way it is being used is frankly an outrage.

Please share and tweet this article if you care about ethics and the future of music.

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Aurovine Music Charts Now Live!

Aurovine’s first dynamic chart is now live. The charts are compiled on track popularity across the site.

The chart is constantly updating but ‘snapshots’ will be taken on a weekly basis for syndication to music blogs and websites.

Currently at no.1 is the exclusive remix of Colour, Movement, Sex & Violence by legendary Factory band Section 25.

See the full chart here.

Did Google and SEO really remove the quality from music?

Amanda Palmer raised $1m via Kickstarter

After reading Stephen Carmichael’s article at Music Think Tank  you may be excused for thinking that quality in music doesn’t really matter anymore – but he completely misses the point and in the process attaches populist logic to issues that really don’t have much to do with music or the music industry.

Carmichael asserts that music is now about entertainment and not about quality. Strange in a week when one of the most overhyped ‘talent’ shows on TV has a winner who struggles to sell enough tracks to get into the top 50!!

The effect of the internet is very powerful but I’d argue that (as far as the music industry is concerned) – its main purpose is as a marketing and delivery platform.

The main difference of course is the way the internet has (in combination with advancing technology) destroyed the archaic structure of a bloated music industry by transferring control of once exploitative and clandestine systems to the people who really matter (i.e. the artists and fans).

So whether it is recording, collaborating, brand building, press releases, blogging, database creation, seo, adwords (both search and display advertising), email marketing or intelligent fan engagement, Google and the digital ether is merely a tool to be exploited.

The question of music existing as short term entertainment is one for society not the internet. TV talent shows and youtube viral hits tend to be bland or amusing at the point of delivery but have an ‘instant gratification’ factor more in tune with our superficial culture than as a topic for serious music industry debate.

The internet works for companies, artists and fans. The secret is using it in a way that is both innovative and interesting. I’m betting internet savvy artists old (The Arctic Monkeys) and new (Amanda Palmer)  wouldn’t take too kindly to the suggestion that music isn’t about quality anymore.