By Evan Henry
Recently, I came across a rather disturbing sign of the times. The CD has been rejected, and somehow cassette and vinyl sales are up while music streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora, have more value than that of the entire music industry itself.
“Streaming income, which includes paid subscriptions and ad earnings, accounted for 27 percent of the recorded music industry’s $6.97 billion earnings,” Ben Kaye, assistant news editor for consequenceofsound. net, said in an article. “Yet Spotify, just one company that makes up that percentage, is actually worth more than every single US retail music revenue source combined.”
The mainstream is not buying music in physical forms anymore. Instead, consumers are gravitating toward mobile or desktop streaming, temporarily borrowing the content and paying for it month after month.
For someone who likes to hear an album before they fully invest in the physical, this idea is golden. But like I said, this isn’t the way the world works. In 2015, no one wants to pay for music anymore. Digital content isn’t actually real because it comes from the Internet, and it ought to be free.
A hard drive or computer could instantly be ruined by a fire or a spilled cup of coffee, and ‘poof,’ all your MP3s are gone.
Although MP3s still require downloading and organizing in and out of a device, music streaming has become much more convenient than MP3s.
Just one company owns a substantial percentage of the modern music industry, according to Kaye’s article. The industry seems to be decreasing in value as the number of talented underground artists continues to boom.
Spotify’s value is disturbing, but its founder, Daniel Ek, sure found himself a goldmine. A goldmine I admit to using.
Although I have never used the service to its fullest, I keep Spotify on the off chance I want to hear an album I don’t have. The mobile version of the service, Spotify Premium, sells for $10 (or $4.99 with student discount) a month and has proven beneficial for bands on tour that want to hear something fresh on those long, statewide drives.
Chill Phil of Portland goth duo Love Cop said the service was worth the expense while blasting through boring, run-of-the-mill, Clear-Channel -owned radio stations. “We get to listen to pretty much anything, no problem,” Phil said.
Spotify leeches itself onto users by providing the premium, ad-free version.
The McDonald’s and Pepsi
ads between users’ favorite jams drive them crazy. But it’s the price we pay for “free.”
None of this greed or market capitalization would be a problem if we, as a society, stuck to tangible media. Artists would retain greater profit if people still went to record stores to get their music.
There would be greater demand for a press of 100 copies to be made. A band wouldn’t have to rely solely on touring to make revenue.
But instead, in 2015, digital streaming continues to eat away at the beloved artist, making victims of listeners, one by one.