Music streaming continues to boom, but at what cost to the industry?

With instant access to a range of different music from metal bands such as Korn and Slipknot to huge rap stars like Kanye West and Eminem, music streaming services have become an integral modern-day tool for people. As such, you’ll regularly see music lovers nodding along to tunes while on the bus or see endless advertisements promoting the latest and greatest streaming service. They’re hugely popular. 

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The rise in these types of platforms has certainly changed the way in which we consume music. It has coincided with the advancements made in our mobile phone devices, too. As a result, we have seen the production of smartphones offering a range of functionalities and having the power to handle mobile applications, take high-quality images, and a whole lot more. The innovation in this area hasn’t just impacted the way in which we listen to music either. For example, gamers can now enjoy a range of titles on a miniature handheld device also. From smash hit releases like Among Us to slot games like Panther Pays at popular casinos, the options in this space are extensive. The same applies to a variety of other sectors, of course, but it’s the music industry that has arguably experienced the biggest change following the rise of music streaming services. Some argue that it isn’t necessarily for the better, though.

Music streaming does have its drawbacks   

Ultimately, as consumers, having access to a variety of different tunes is hugely appealing. It means your favourite artists can accompany you throughout the worst of days, and it costs very little to actually enjoy an album on services like Spotify too. Sadly, though, this comes at a cost, and most musicians will tell you that it doesn’t really make up for the undoubted exposure these types of services provide. One of the major issues with streaming is in regards to the royalties that artists actually receive. World-famous or locally known, musicians rely on the income they receive off the back of their music being played. Criminally to some, services like Spotify and Apple Music pay a pittance. Songwriters, producers, and record labels all suffer as a result. Therefore, despite the thousands of plays a new album might receive or the rise upthe charts a certain band might be witnessing, it doesn’t necessarily translate into earnings. It’s no secret, but that is exactly why we have seen a general trend of more musicians shifting towards doing more live shows and going on bigger tours. Simply put, touring is where the money is at these days. 

Ultimately, the main bulk of the money made from these types of services goes straight into the pockets of big corporate entities and tech companies, and not necessarily the music industry as a whole. Some would certainly argue that it isn’t fair in terms of the distribution of wealth. 

There are some positives

There is certainly an argument to suggest that the likes of Katy Perry and Madonna shouldn’t have to worry about minuscule royalties on certain streaming platforms.

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After all, they’re global stars worth millions anyway. It’s the smaller, more independent artists that the aforementioned shameful royalties really hit hard. For every issue surrounding royalties, though, comes the clear and highly valuable exposure streaming platforms provide. For example, Soundcloud has helped millions of people around the globe discover up and coming talent. Likewise, some artists such as Chance The Rapper and D.R.A.M. were signed off the back of such services. Music streaming enables people to discover new genres, too. 

Music streaming services are here to stay, but they definitely aren’t perfect.