Democratizing playlists as the solution to making on-demand streaming work for indies is a nice…
Kevin Erickson

This is a tough one, and probably doesn’t fit into the paradigm of what streaming’s model will evolve into.

I bought My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” CD back in the day for probably $7. It traveled with me for years, I listened hundreds of times. I paid MBV $7, or since it came out when I was a baby, I probably bought it later, secondhand and the money never even made it to MBV. But I listened to their album hundreds of times.

Now I stream “Loveless” and MBV gets my royalties all the time. This is an incredible development for art! Make a timeless classic and have revenue coming in forever, not just advertising your reunion tour.

I’m not sure what kind of music you reference but maybe it’s Classical or Electronic? Like Beethoven or Aphex Twin? Or maybe Spoken Word? I don’t exactly understand the case, however, if there is in fact something that fits this paradigm, I would argue that making something that everyone listens to once…deserves royalties accordingly. I predict that in ten years, Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange,” the one with the songs on it, will be listened to more than “Blonde,” the one with vibes. I love “Blonde” but I think I’ll go back to “Channel Orange” more often. I’ve listened to “Blonde” on repeat for a week, and Ocean gets those royalties. If I stop listening to it, has the intensity of my listening in the last week not be accounted for?

There is the question of commercialism. It is possible that art is beloved, important and beautiful but not commercial. That is ok. Streaming is not meant to solve that problem. Jim Carroll, one of my favorite artists, died a beloved legendary artist, but poor. He made one commercial work of art, and chose to make less commercial work for the rest of his life. That work was praised but he did not get rich on it. I do not believe he deserved more money for his less commercial work, just because it was quality.

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