Updated: September 16, 2016
Usually article or blog post responses have a blatant or underlying negative tone. This is not one of those responses.
A year ago, Taylor Swift brought the hammer down on music streaming services. Her beef was based on the payout mechanism between the companies, record labels, and artists. And I get it, T Swift. You and every other artist should be compensated for your creative works of art. Especially when your art sells like hotcakes.
October 18th, 2015 enter Joanna Newsom, harpist and singer. The LA Times interviewed her about the release of her newest album. Ms. Newsom had some terrible things to say about Spotify in particular. She has a huge problem with the changes in the music industry. She stated she doesn’t love the direction the music industry is taking but she accepts it.
Both artists have very relevant and valid points: streaming services DO NOT produce the same monetary results as album sales. AT ALL. Artists are suffering because of technology and its shift from physical albums sales to digital sales and streaming.
But keep in mind streaming services have to keep their employees paid and maintain their apps, computer interfaces, etc. AND pay record labels all while pleasing consumers. Sorry T Swift and Joanna, MOST listeners these days don’t wanna get up and stand in line at Target to pick up your CD. They want it right at their fingertips whether that’s through iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, or just plain downloading. The introduction of streaming puts a strain on sales but is streaming the sole culprit for this? You COULD blame Apple for introducing iPods and the music library to come with them. Or Rhapsody. Hell there are many fingers to point.
Fact of the matter is streaming is here and it’s going NOWHERE. I’m not choosing a side on this but I want to shed some light on the issues. Personally, I have a PAID Spotify subscription. Spotify’s ease and convenience make me even more excited to immerse myself in millions of songs. I will also let it be known that when one of my favorite artists releases a new song or album I listen to it on Spotify and I purchase it if I like it. Or I go to a concert if I can make it. Or I buy artist merchandise.
Am I caping for Spotify? Yeah. Am I concerned about artists getting compensated for their hard work and talent? Hell yeah. It’s all about balance and hearing both sides of the argument.
*I wrote this response almost a year ago. Today I read an article from The Verge on Spotify's Year In Music that details Spotify's payout mechanism even more. Last year I caped for Spotify. This year I still defend Spotify for its convenience and access to tons of music. Streaming doesn't pay artists what it should. That's why it's our job as consumers to support to the best of our ability so our favorite artists are paid what they deserve.