Thoughts and Concerns Of Music During The Streaming Age

Earlier today I read this piece from my friends at Geekwire: “Music service Rhapsody posts record $35M net loss even as revenues climb to $202M“. I’m not simply concerned about a long-standing Seattle tech company struggling, but also that entities like Spotify are also bleeding cash to keep their market share. The losses are not sustainable long-term. I’m really not a streaming-music industry analyst, so I can’t really speak to the timeline of the issue, and that’s really not my point or concern.

I’m wondering about the sustainability of the music business. Not simply Spotify, et al; actually, even more my focus is on musicians. I’ve heard from many sources (most notably Taylor Swift) about how Spotify is not providing a livable income. Now, if Apple, Google, etc, can pay more than Spotify or Rhapsody, that’s a particular issue. However, I think this is larger. It’s ultimately about the consumers, about me and you as music lovers. Perhaps $10/mo is not enough to for artists to make music and eat. And if that’s the case, maybe we need to think about more $$$.

There are many tools that individual artists are leveraging well. Kickstarter and Patreon come to mind first. There are several tools, though, that help. Many artists I admire, such as Amanda Palmer and Zoe Keating leverage these tools to good effect. However, they spend a lot of time managing their audience. It seems, for them, that they get a lot of positive energy from us. Which will certainly make it more pleasant. Of course, emails, blog posts, Instagram updates and all that take away from producing their art. Or, maybe, that’s part of their art.

Anyway, there’s much to consider with this. So, as a mediation, I’ll leave you with Zoe Keating’s closing at the 2016 Word Economic Forum meeting in Davos. She’s carved an amazing niche for herself. As a fan myself, and love interacting with her other fans.