Hi everybody, I am here today to talk to you about a topic that I am really interested in and that is the question of streaming and its effect on the music industry.
Streaming has gained popularity rapidly over the last 5 years with an estimated 103.1 million people paying to stream and almost double using services free or trial options.
The most used streaming service out there is, of course, Spotify, Spotify had estimated 100 million users with only 50 million paying for Spotify premium. The £9.99 per month option gets you unlimited skips, offline listening, no ads and increased audio quality.
Deezer is the only other service to offer a free option, this basically runs the same as Spotify with its charges and upgrades.
Other popular streaming platforms include Google play music, Amazon Prime music, Tidal and last but not least Apple music. All of these services have varied prices but all offer a different number of songs in their library. To put things into perspective the Itunes store has an estimated 45 million songs available for download. The lowest of the pack in terms of library size is Tidal with its 25 million, Spotify and Apple music have just over 30 million and Deezer has the most of the bunch carrying over 40 million, however, these aren’t all available in the UK.
There have been many issues and controversies surrounding streaming that a lot of media outlets and musicians have picked up on. One very public example was Taylor Swifts removal of music from all free services and her open letter to Apple music. In the Tumblr post in response to news that Apple will not be paying artists for streams accumulated during users 3-month free trial she wrote: “This is the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success.” Shortly after this Apple announced that artist would get paid and Taylor even went on to produce adverts with them. However, she still doesn’t have any of her material on Spotify and many other streaming services after her camp claimed they didn’t get paid as much per year for Taylor’s music as Spotify claimed to have paid.
Many people have branded Taylors war on streaming one of an extremely self-centered nature. It left a lot of people wondering if she genuinely was trying to speak up on behalf of the smaller artists by using her level of fame and social media platforms or if she just wanted more money. I guess we will never know 100% but I personally believe and hope it’s genuine as I do find the issue of pay in streaming wrong.
The issue that I find more disappointing is the effect that streaming has on the chart, both in the Uk and worldwide. Every 100 streams of a song equal 1 sale when it comes to the UK official charts. This is making the chart both slightly inaccurate and easier to manipulate.
I’m sure you all remember back to summer last year when Drakes ‘One Dance’ topped the UK singles chart for over three months. Well for a lot of that time the song wasn’t even in the top 10 on the Itunes chart, people weren’t really buying it, but you know what they were doing? streaming it of course.
You are probably wondering why this is such a big deal well it is when you find out how many songs entered the top 40 in the first half of last year which was only 86 which is a huge decline from 10 years ago where this number was 230. This shows that fewer artists were breaking into the chart as the continues streaming was just keeping the same tracks there meaning the number of smaller artists entered the chart a lot less which is a problem as it means that it’s making it harder for up and coming acts to break into the mainstream music chart. I feel that streaming can be very easily manipulated as songs can be put into playlists and played without the request of the listener whereas when you buy a single it means that you genuinely like it and choose to listen to it.
Another example that involves this issue involves Ed Sheeran and his latest release Divide, upon its first week of releases all tracks from the album landed themselves a place in the Uk top 20. this is something that happened purely because of streaming and I am one of the biggest Ed Sheeran fans out there but even I can appreciate that this wasn’t fair. Personally, I would like streaming to be taken out of the official chart or at least more streams equaling a sale, maybe then we would have more acts breaking through and getting noticed and it would just generally a more accurate chart.
I personally use streaming I have Spotify Premium and I use it every day, as you may or may not know I am a huge vinyl freak, I buy everything on vinyl which is expensive and I do like to listen to my music out of the house so buying the album on both vinyl and on download wasn’t cost effective for me. I personally don’t ever see myself using streaming alone as I do feel that there are problems surrounding it. Find out why I choose vinyl here: Why I choose vinyl.
Anyway, I feel that streaming both has its advantages and disadvantages, it’s really up to a person to find which is best for them. If you are deciding to use spotify or Deezers i do recommend getting the premium version as I do believe that you should contribute to the artists and production teams making and putting out the music.
What do you think about streaming, do you use it or are you totally against it, let me know in the comments below and I will see you in my next post, byeee.