It’s the wicked little secret “the industry” doesn’t want to talk about!
We can now say with certainty that the predictions were correct, and streaming has won the battle for music listening. Sadly, what comes with that accomplishment is the further marginalization of indie musicians and the validation of the abysmal business model upon which it is built.
Older Listeners Migrating to Streaming
It wasn’t too long ago, when CDs and MP3 downloads were still a real source of revenue for indie musicians, and that the older demographic could be counted on for purchases in either format. No more. Billboard…
In case anyone reading these articles thinks the use of “apocalypse” and existential language like Jim Morrison’s “this is the end, my only friend the end” is over the top and completely disconnected from reality, consider the most recent business news.
For those who aren’t keeping up with IPOs, tracking analyst’s performance assessments of companies going public, following how the public stocks perform once released and most importantly what the future outlook for the latest public offerings are, consider a few facts about the recent Uber IPO and ask yourself if there are any correlates with the music industry.
Not to be too melodramatic, but on top of the consolidating realities that have happened in the music industry over the past few years, the last few months have brought to light some especially chilling pieces of information that sure make it seem like we’re at the end point for the music industry as we know it.
To start, hear the wisdom and anger of T Bone Burnett. In a recent interview with Geoffrey Brown, recorded at SXSW and broadcast on NPR News April 28.
The surveillance capitalists confiscated our stuff first. They took our music and said, information wants…
For those who have forgotten some of the details of history classes they took in high school or college, a quick review of the Luddites is in order. This was a movement of English textile workers in the early 19th century, in a period most of us know little about……except maybe we remember some of Charles Dickens writings about a harsh society…..you know, including debtor’s prisons, etc. In other words, a time in England when colonialism had created an empire, mercantilism was king, and the state supported industries in shutting down opposition. …
One part of the great Grateful Dead song Touch of Grey (written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia on the album “In The Dark”) goes like this:
I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It’s even worse than it appears
But it’s alright
I will get by
I will get by
I will get by
I will survive
There’s been plenty of ranting in the last year about the low payouts from the streaming platforms and the financial pain and unfairness inflicted on most musicians. That ranting includes my own piece on…
Credit where it’s due!
Most of what’s in this piece has been published in various trade sources over the past couple of years, but what really prompts putting it together as a single piece was Nora Germain’s article You Have No Idea How F****d Streaming Really Is, published on Medium on Dec. 10, 2018. If you haven’t yet read it, you probably want to read it first. This effort aims to complement the well taken points Nora made. She wrote as a professional musician defending the creative work of musicians, arguing that what is going on with the streaming platforms…