Streaming Services: Are We Barking Up The Wrong Tree?
By J.P. Kallio
Are we barking at the wrong tree? When Spotify came along, like so many musicians I was very sceptical. The idea that people would pay for music service that would just stream music sounded absurd. I had this crazy idea that we’d be paying for an online radio. But Spotify proved to be a service that won people over. I was extremely sceptical and critical about the pay independent artists would receive from the service. But to my surprise, Spotify posted a very transparent explanation how the payment system would work and evolve in time. So I was hopeful. Sure we had other services as well, for example Pandora. Now YouTube has made a massive deal with Merlin Networks, who is managing the rights for thousands of independent labels, which takes them one step closer to releasing Youtube’s paid service. Also Soundcloud has signed a licensing deal with warner music.
In the past week Spotify made the news big time again when Taylor Swift pulled her music out of Spotify. It was built up to look like she did not think the service was fair to musicians. Now, I for one-second do not believe this was a decision made by her and not the record label. There has been talk about the record label preparing itself for a sale, and this media trick would have forced hundreds of thousands Taylor Swift fans to purchase her albums as a physical copy or a download, when they probably had already signed up for Spotify and some of them already paid for the premium service. Obviously the sales figures showed it was a clever business move…
Once again, Spotify replied with a blog post which you can read HERE. This post points out one thing extremely well: “we’ve already paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that’s a big problem.”
So I am asking you one thing, are we barking at the wrong tree? Are there still too many hands grabbing chunks of the stream between the point of sale and the artist? But at the same time, don’t forget there is no point blaming Spotify for not paying you “fairly” if no one is listening to your music…
-J.P. Kallio is a singer/songwriter