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June 26, 2012

Lately there seems to be focused attention towards streaming media and how big a role it may play in “saving the music industry”. While it’s highly unlikely streaming will do this (especially given that the music industry is financially fine) it will certainly play a larger role as a source of revenue for artists in the future. As more and more artists start utilizing streaming services, ignoring this part of the industry will become that much more difficult.

The debate on whether streaming is good or bad seems to be something of a recent development; ever since it became possible to make money from it. Few people worried about streaming in the days when the only websites doing this (MySpace, Last FM, YouTube) did not charge a fee. Now that people are making money from streaming, everyone looks at it differently – some see it as bad, some as good. As streaming now pays, it is an improvement over the older ways where an artists received no money.

A lot of people argue as to whether or not streaming pays enough; as it stands right now that is a very difficult and futile debate to have. The business of paying for streaming is still so new, with a lot of problems to work out and a constant growth, that to judge it now is too soon. As this part of the industry grows and adapts to the constant changes in music the payout will likely increase. There is the argument that labels get paid more than an individual artist but from a business perspective this makes perfect sense. A label has more to offer thus as a business it would makes sense that these companies who provide streaming want to give them a better deal to obtain their catalogue of music and fanbase. As an artists this may seem wrong to you but this is a common practice in every other industry.

While people may have issue with streaming – does it pays enough? is it worth it? – ultimately, the fans are embracing it. To ignore streaming would be a disservice to fans. Maximum exposure and accessibility in the internet age is a good thing to have. If your fans want to stream your music instead of buying it then you best suck it up and offer this to them because you need them far more than they need you. Accepting this and learning how to use and capitalize streaming will become another way to distinguish between which artists, labels and other companies are going to thrive in the digital age and which will fail.


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