Music Streaming doesn’t work!

Third party retail companies involved in streaming music are basically the new record companies which obtain our intellectual property (music content) for free without ever paying for the right to commercially exploit it. This is why there’s no money in record sales anymore because no ones paying for the right to commercially exploit it.

They expect artists and regular record labels to hand over their digital music content for free and in some cases to pay for the privilige to be on retail sites such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon unlimited etc. They should be licensing third party digital music content from the creators, but for some reason are not doing this and are above the law it seems. They are essentially publishing music without ever paying for it and are obtaining digital music content for free!

The only way we can resolve this is if the likes of Spotify etc. start licensing music from us or start charging subscription fees for each individual music release as opposed to subscription for their service or the music creators cut out all the middlemen and do their own music retail streaming and download sites via their own music portals and sell directly to the fans.

If nothing changes for the better and there is no improvement in this situation, I can only envisage another revolution within the music business and artists and creators taking full control of the music business model. At the moment the only real reliable sources of income from music releases is from live gigs, radio play and licensing records to third party companies for soundtracks, film soundtracks, adverts on TV and radio etc.

In the meantime, nothing will improve for the creators of digital music content until this serious issue is addressed. If the industry returns to physical products such as branded USB Flash drives and quartz crystals, then it might just save the industry. It once worked well when music was released as physical products on vinyl, cassette tape and CD’s etc. The business is also now modelled around number of streams/plays instead of number of record sales which is pathetic in my opinion and charts are no longer reliable because they no longer represent which artists and music is more popular. One fan could play a record a thousand times whereas a thousand fans could play a record just once, so it is not a true representation of what music is more popular!

Things drastically need to change in the music industry to save a dying artform and breathe life back into it and give it a new refreshing lease of life. The music business is so saturated and there is very little quality control and it’s difficult to determine the professionals from the semi pro’s and amateurs. There is that much choice now it’s more difficult than ever to discover great new music and filter out all the junk. This is why we need to do licensing deals with third party retail sites involved in streaming or return to physical goods/products otherwise it’s a slave industry and no longer a viable business model.

I’m all for mp3 and wav downloads, branded USB Flash drives, but the streaming model doesn’t work unless streaming platforms are providing a subscription per release business model or licensing our digital music content in the first place. Most people can stream music for free from sites like YouTube or even rip music from these platforms. So, until things change for the better, the current streaming model is not a viable business model for artists and creators.

By Mark Wheawill

Artist/DJ/Record Producer/Author

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