It's now 2016 and a lot of stuff had to happen for us to get where we are. Streaming markets are now the #1 place to find music and pay the artist. Spotify is on top of things with Apple coming close behind. What use to be a way to pay the artist via buy and download through Bandcamp, including iTunes is now being overshadowed with the streaming market. The problem lies in if you are an artist and have little to no fan base, streaming audio does nothing for you as far as revenue is concerned. Thanks to the digital market making it the normal thing to stream music and only stream, we are stuck with a true issue. The problem is simple, so many can stream, and be done with it. Even allowing someone to download 'for free' usually does not yield results. They will go to A: streaming site instead of B: streaming / buy platform. Artists can beat their heads against the wall and still nothing will change. We're all facing this trying time. The economy is partly to blame and streaming music is fully to blame. Being in my late 30s I remember when CD's were the way of life, go to the store, buy a 15 dollar CD, come home and hope the rest of the album is as good as its debut single. But that wasn't always the case through. We've seen streaming sites come and go in the last 5 years. When does it end? Is it ever going to help the solo artist, the unknown musician who not only pays to have their music uploaded to be streamed but gets back less than 11 dollars a year from streaming payments? Is this the future of music?
Wouldn't it be nice if we could find a way to better ourselves? The full feeling of glorification knowing that your music is being downloaded 'for free' for sale, whatever. This issue isn't being ignored either, musicians across the world are speaking out about the streaming war, in how unfair payment we all get. WEATNU Records only sells through weatnu.com and Bandcamp, because of this. Is there a reason to do more? Not really but let's not be so negative for a moment. Musicians only want one thing, exposure, we've gone so low as to say we don't even want money but money would be a good thing, at least the artist then knows they are being appreciated. We're in a checkmate these days thanks to the large labels and their near ownership of these streaming services. It was said that some of the biggest players in the music mainstream made only 1000 dollars from 1 million plays through Spotify. Solo artists aren't just starving to be heard, they are dying... How much longer before many simply give up? If someone doesn't do something about this, many musicians who you use to know outside the mainstream will eventually fade away. Perhaps in the future someone will do something about this truly unfair advantage that these large corporations have over us. Oddly, you pay to be played, on these services. The truth of the matter is, you get paid peanuts and really what's the use of any artist paying for a service they get nothing in return? These aren't new problems, but they are continuing to be a real uphill battle for all of us.
As streaming services continue to tighten their grip on the indie artist, the indie artist continues to lose more money. Seriously.. no one can make it on 11 dollars a year. Some if they are lucky and have a decent fan base will make about 100 dollars a year from streaming. I take you to these problems because a lot of people just aren't talking about it. An artist needs to sell their music, that's their worth. Even WEATNU Records suffers from this, and since the label does not utilize streaming services, we in a whole are not part of the bigger picture. Fans do not buy music these days, they don't have to, as many have said. It's become an ever increasing battle that people don't even buy CD's or Vinyl, unless you release music that everyone likes. These words are dark, they are not sugar coated but they are in fact truthful. What happens when the majority of these talented artists do not tour? They do not sell.. It's been said that if you are a touring artist, then you can sell your CD's and tapes at the venue, people buy and go home happy. This abyss we call the Internet is eating us whole. Do you think there is an answer to this ever increasing problem called streaming audio?
Fans can listen forever on Bandcamp but never have to pay one dime. The simple act of charity is just not there, yet the artist needs your dollar to buy more equipment or food.
Soundcloud is now the leading service to change their policy, starting this year they plan to charge. This is just one more nail in the coffin wouldn't you say? The solo artist or unknown band simply writes music for the love of it, that itself is their livelihood, it's their dream to release the next album. Thanks to the artists themselves and the passion of their creation, we can at least go on hearing their music, free or not. The show must go on.
Almark - #WEATNU Digital Magazine - March 2016.