Streaming: The Genesis of a New Era

Popular music streaming apps.

Popular music streaming apps.

Cameron Antoniotti, Reporter

   Streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music have been titans standing over the music industry for the last decade. Absolutely dominating the medium in which music is consumed, these services grant the average person an unfathomable library of high quality sounding songs at their fingertips and allow anyone to live their fantasy of being a radio DJ for just $10 a month. With this ease and comfort comes an underlying cost that the public is not aware of. The ease of the streaming age is gradually destroying the inner workings of the music industry, and is extinguishing the creative flame that keeps it alive. 

   To address the most glaring, serious side effect of streaming services taking over is how artists, especially songwriters, are being hijacked for profits that are rightfully theirs. Since the dark ages of Napster, artists have been skirmishing with file sharing and streaming services over copyright, most famously in the Metallica lawsuit of 2000. The issue seemed to have been corrected with paying artists per stream, but what is not shown is the actual sum paid to artists for using their work. 

    Most artists are paid $0.006 per stream in which most goes to the record label. This is detrimental to smaller, indie artists whose music is mainly consumed on streaming services. Smaller artists still predominantly use these services though, because they can have a positive effect on their career by promoting their music. 

   The use of these services as an outlet for one’s music can provide huge benefits and further one’s career and the prime example of this is the recent SoundCloud generation of Hip-Hop. This is a double-edged sword because it can force an upcoming artist to venture down the rabbit hole of relevancy. Listeners today have extremely short memories when it comes to remembering and following artists. The number of one hit wonders occurring in the streaming age is increasing dramatically with people listening and moving on almost immediately for a similar sound. This forces artists to constantly put out singles with almost no time to perfect them in order to stay relevant. The whole process does not encourage creativity and experimentation, but rather conformity to trends. Without the listener’s consent to accept an experimental project, we may never get another “808s And Heartbreak” or “Dark Side of the Moon”.  As detrimental as it may be though, streaming is not the end of the music industry, but just a catalyst to the next era of music and the way we let melodies work their ways into our hearts. It is the genesis of a new beginning in the world of music.