The double sided coin

With #Taylor #Swift making headlines for pulling her song catalog from #Spotify, there’s been a lot of talk about the pros and cons of streaming, and the royalties they pay out.

As a listener, streaming has obvious value. In an age where the radio plays the same 40 songs all week, streaming exposes listeners to a large range of artists that you likely won’t find on your own, and, assuming you have wifi or a large enough data plan, you no longer need to fill your device in order to listen.

Does music theft still happen? Absolutely. Here’s the question though, is streaming much better than theft for those who write and record the music?

Top tier artists make pennies on the dollar for their albums, but it still a adds up to a decent paycheck, so what’s the problem? All the non-top tier artists, the up and comers, the creative people of the next generation, or those who aren’t destined for top 40 fame, but still have fans, tour, promote and create, and the writers who slave to push themselves to write the next hit for all those performers you’ve come to love.

I’m not against streaming, I’m against the screwed up way payment is calculated for different groups of artists, writers, publishers, and labels. I’m against comparing on demand streaming of any song in their catalog as equivalent to a radio where, with various stations, your song pool is limited to a few hundred songs, as they happen to be dished up.

It’s not the same, and to treat it as such in order to reduce #royalties is a farce. What #streaming really is, is a low cost personal music archive #cloud.

When you see the Taylor Swifts of the world, making great money, it’s easy to forget that there are countless thousands making music that has just as much worth, who need to work 2-3 jobs in order to continue writing or performing, now that music has been devalued and merchandise is supposed to pick up the slack. After all, when was the last time you bought Bernie Toupin merchandise? The non-performing writers that non-writing performers depend on only have one revenue stream, and that source no longer values their vital part in the music industry.

If things don’t change, the quality will drop, the next generation won’t bother recording, and you’ll be left with bootlegged concert footage or bedroom demo tapes, and your soon-to-be Oldies, better known as the last of the great albums, streamed as a reminder of what music used to be.

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