Ben Taub

@bentaub

Spotify Killed Music

Streaming technology will be the death of the music industry.

The digital age of music is here. Every track, album, and mixtape is recorded, produced, and distributed in a digital format. The sound quality is better, distribution is easier, and the whole process is much faster. Analog sound has no place in the music world anymore.

Just as fast as the digital age has helped the industry, it has the potential to ultimately destroy it. Music sharing and streaming is just so quick and easy. No one buys music anymore. It is illogical. Why buy an album for $10 when you could listen to that album and thousands of others for the same price?

I must admit. I use Spotify premium. I’m actually mostly satisfied with the service. It is easy to build a large music library and even add music that Spotify doesn’t offer. It’s an inexpensive way to enjoy your tunes.

Spotify and other music services provide convenience to the consumer but a nightmare for the tycoons of the music industry. An artist will make around $0.0011 per stream, according to The Guardian. If someone were to buy a track on iTunes, the artists gets around $0.69. Lets say someone streams a song 100 times. The artist only makes $0.11. It takes around 628 streams for that to equal one purchase on iTunes.

Musicians clearly have little to gain from music streaming technology, but what about the consumer? It seems, for them, there are many advantages. It appears that a monthly flat fee is significantly cheaper than buying individual songs and albums. However, there is a crucial flaw in this school of thought.

Recently I was in the car with a friend of mine and we were discussing the various music services offered. I raved about my love for Spotify. He laughed and disclosed that he still buys his music on iTunes. I laughed at him. I told him that he was living in the past and that he has been wasting his money. He deflected my criticism and gave his defense. He said that the music buys is the music he is going to want in 30 years. He has to pay for it once. So in 30 years from now when he is done buying music and everyone else is still paying the monthly fee to continue streaming their music, he is the on who comes out on top.

To an extent, he is correct. When he buys a song he really is buying it for the first listen. The artist doesn’t get any extra money for any other play. The track is his for life. There is no beating the feeling of ownership. I still believe that streaming will prove to be only a fad. It isn’t a long term solution. The nostalgia behind buying a record, an album, or a song is too immense. The artists and record labels are losing money rapidly. Streaming services don’t give those who provide their content with proper compensation and slowly could lose support of the industry. Continued support for this technology could prove to be the industry’s downfall.

As I said before, I love Spotify. My problem is they don’t give the artists the proper compensation they deserve. The idea of streaming music will always be second to ownership. This is an industry that changes rapidly and the technology moves quicker than the artists can keep up with. Spotify will kill music if the artists let it and the only way to save it might be for the industry to return to its roots.

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