The Times, they are a-changin'


The article below inspired me to write this post, and it's called "The End Of The Music Business".

"The End of the Music Business"

TL;DR The article is about the Music Streaming Business.

Before we start I would just like to state my bias: I am not a fan of music streaming services, yes they are convenient, but they pay NOTHING to the Artists. Spotify only becomes profitable when you're an Artist with millions and millions of streams per month.

According to the link above, an artist gets paid between $ 0.01284 and $0.0039 per stream depending on the platform, which equates to 78 to 909 streams just to make $1. You also have to remember that out of that $1 approximately 30% goes to the music streaming service and the remaining 70% gets divided between the Label and the Artist.

If you want to support your favourite Artist, it is important you buy physical media or merch. However, In the "old days", the contracts between Artists and Record Labels were, and probably still are, awful for the Artist. I remember Taylor Swift re-recording one of her albums so that she can get the majority of the profit, because her initial contract took advantage of her inexperience when she initially signed with them. This has happened and still happens frequently in the music industry. It seems that artist can only be profitable if they are independent, and is becoming more of a "things" thanks to the invention of the computer, Pro Tools and Music Production Software.

To show how bad the Old School Music Industry was, here's quote from The Nation article:

One would think that a musician who was vital to the success of the best-selling jazz album of all time—Cobb’s superb, unique swinging beat is heard on almost every second of Kind of Blue—would not need to spend his sunset years worrying about money, but Cobb had to run a GoFundMe for medical expenses in early 2020, before dying in May of that year.

Both the old school way (Record Labels + Physical Media) and the new school way (Record Labels + Streaming) of doing this have Pros and Cons.

The Pro of the Old School is that the artists generally get a bigger cut from their sales, the Con is that their contracts with Record Labels may screw them over.

The Pro to Streaming Services is that they are keeping the music industry alive and relevant, the Con is that Streaming Services aren't paying the artists enough to make a living.

So why buy physical media?

The magic about physical media such as Vinyl and CDs is that you get a context for the music before you listen to it, the artwork, lyrics etc allows your mind to postulate and create a preconceived idea about what is to come from the audio that awaits you. Exciting indeed! I know a bands like Tool takes this very seriously and always have amazing cover art for their albums. Also, most streaming services stream mp3 audio, and we all know FLAC is where it is at. Vinyl, as far as I know, is truly lossless, which is even better than FLAC. Not everyone can hear the difference between mp3s and FLAC files, but you really need amazing speakers/headphones and an ear to be able to tell the difference. It took me years to train my ears what to listen for.

In other news, I am waiting for Tapes to make a return. I love tapes, even though their audio quality can be a bit iffy. I used to record my drumming with an old Aiwa Cassette Tape Player, and it actually sounded better than what phones record now.

The moral of the story:

If the bands you listening to are independent, go see them live, buy their merch and albums, even if you buy a digital copy of their music from BandCamp.

"May we forever graze on The Pasture of Muppets"

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