You’ve heard it a gazillion times before; CD’s are out, digital downloading is in. But it appears even digital downloading is getting jacked in as we now have today’s method of listening to music…STREAMING.
To those that don’t know what streaming is, this is where you can subscribe to a site by paying a small fee every month and you can listen to unlimited music. There are plenty of streaming sites and apps such as Apple Music, Rhapsody, Google Play, Deezer, Pandora (U.S. Australian and New Zealand only) and many, many more. Oh and of course there’s the one that I’m currently on…Spotify. Dunno if you’ve heard of it? I mean it’s not that popular really! Anyway, whilst artists do at least now get paid per play on these Satan sites, don’t go putting a deposit down on that Ferrari, mansion or set of new tits just yet since as an unsigned artist you will receive just 0.6 to 0.84 of one cent (approximately half of one penny) per play, less the distributor’s commission of course. Sadly it appears streaming is the way to go these days until the next big thing comes along, but it doesn’t mean I like it. Yes, I’m stubborn.
This is most definitely having an impact on new unsigned artists breaking through in the music industry.
Now for some facts and figures. Yes, they may have been copied and pasted as my attention span is slim…but they’re quite interesting:
According to BBC figures, in the first six months of 2016, there were 86 new entries in the UK singles chart, compared with 230 a decade earlier. (Incidentally, Sheeran’s single Thinking Out Loud was the first streaming-abetted No 1.) The Official Charts Company (OCC) underestimated the huge effect the change would have. In 2014, the format accounted for just 41.5% of the overall singles market, at a time when 100 streams were the equivalent of one “sale”. This January, the OCC announced that the figure had almost doubled to 80%, and that it was changing its rules, though not significantly: you now needed 150 streams to count as one unit.
Fair enough, when you’re Ed Sheeran or have a big name like that and your tunes are being streamed millions of times, then yes you may earn a bob or two and yes your face might get some free advertising on the front page of the site. However, when you’re a nobody like me trying to break through and get your music out there to establish core fans that will buy your next EP or album to fund the next one, and you can just about get around 26 Spotify followers (most of them being friends/family and the rest, let’s be real, don’t really give a shit), chances are you’re not gonna gain much from streaming. After all, why would core fans buy your digital downloadable EP or physical CD for a fiver when they can listen to it and unlimited other artists for twice that cost per month?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just in this for the money. But it really is true that there’s just no money in album sales anymore. I’ve always said if you want to be rich and famous then don’t be a musician, I’m sure there are simpler ways of hitting the jackpot. Unfortunately people, ‘money makes the world go around’ – init. So much hard-work, patience and creativity goes into making music (not to mention the blood, sweat and tears). When you hear a song on the radio you really don’t realise how much time and effort has gone into that 3 minute track, and everybody who has been involved in making that record should be paid what they deserve. As an unknown and unsigned artist you want to make a bit of money in order to make more music, which is near impossible thanks to streaming sites like bloody Spotify.
It’s a tricky one though because as a listener I get it. Unlimited music for a tenner a month – bargain! I love a bargain. I’m guilty of buying a Christian Dior shirt for £4 from a charity shop. Or walking into the shoe department in T.K. Maxx and only looking through the sale section on the bottom shelf. But I know if I want the real thing then I’m gonna have to pay for it. We’re all the same, we’re all a little bit tight and want things for as little money as possible – it’s human nature. So I understand the sinful sites of streaming for that reason. They’re a listener’s best friend, but an unknown artist’s worst enemy.
So with the launch of my new EP ‘EL RECO’ coming up pretty soon (here’s a behind the scenes promo video to the making of ‘EL RECO‘), I’m torn as to whether or not to put it on Spotify. That’s of course if I don’t get banned from all streaming sites after this blog post. Will it help my career or slow it down? That is the question. Decisions, decisions. And we all know I’m indecisive. Maybe one day, if I ever gain a loyal enough following who I know will support my music regardless, then what’s the harm in doing a lil bit of streaming. But right now, whilst I’m a skint ex-barmaid trying to be a singer/songwriter, I’m not so convinced that selling my music short to the devil will be the best way forward, and instead focus on the core people who believe in my tunes and wanna support me and my music. These are the life dilemmas us unsigned artists go through! If there are any unsigned artists reading this who can relate, then take a look at Ari Herstand’s Blog “11 Things Millennial Musicians Just Don’t Get”. He has some great advice for us nobodies!
Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Trackback URL for this post: