U2 singer, and world-renowned musician Bono once said, “music can change the world because it can change people.”
This quote really resonated with me because music has shaped me into the person I am today. Music is a universal language, it’s an art form and a form of therapy. Everyone around the world listens to music and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t enjoy it. It’s truly amazing what it can do.
Over the past decade, the music industry has experienced a major shift. People stopped buying physical albums and instead resorted to using digital options such as iTunes. However, over the past few years, this changed as well.
According to Rollingstone.com, digital music sales through companies such as iTunes experienced a 6 percent decrease in track sales in 2013, while overall album sales went down 8 percent.
Streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube have taken over the music scene upsetting artists who feel they are not being fairly compensated for their work.
In November 2014, Taylor Swift made a statement by yanking her entire “1989” album off music streaming site, Spotify. According to Time Magazine Swift wrote an op-ed piece stating “music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.”
According to Time magazine, artists on Spotify “earn on average less than one cent per play, between $0.006 and $0.0084.”
The question is, should music-streaming services be available to the audience? Or is music a valuable art form that should always be paid for?
As a singer and songwriter, this topic had me extremely conflicted. I played it back in my head over and over and tried to figure out how streaming services could be beneficial to an artist such as myself.
I believe that music is an artist’s biggest form of advertisement. When an audience listens to and enjoys your music, they want to hear more. They become a fan of your music. What do fans of your music do? They come to your concerts, they buy your merchandise and they buy your “brand.”
Because life is moving so fast and things are constantly changing, innovation is a prominent factor in today’s world. As the world continues to innovate itself, artists must do the same in order to succeed. They must find ways to get their music to the audience in an easy, accessible way in order to create a loyal fan base that will buy their brand.
Should artists make money for the work they put into their music, absolutely. Does that money have to be prominently through album sales? Not necessarily.
Music is a science as much as it is an art. It should be taken seriously and appreciated just as much as it should be fun and enjoyed. Although streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube should definitely be available for the audience, artists should be compensated fairly by these companies for their work.
In the words of composer Aaron Copeland, “To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself. Incredible and inconceivable.”
Until next time, stay fabulous!
Published September 30th, 2015