The open access of music has becoming an increasingly popular topic in the media. Artists now have the option to stream their music on multiple platforms some which are completely free and others that charge the consumer per song or per month.
“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. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”
Last year Taylor Swift decided to prevent her music from being streamed on Spotify. Although it has been debated whether she did this as a PR stunt to maximise album sales, this made many people think how beneficial open-access music is for the artists themselves. Although this news article may have earned Taylor some media coverage it will have prevented her album from gaining wider exposure.
However it is hard for the Average Joe to feel sympathy for artists like Swift who move away from streaming services because they don’t believe they are being paid enough, as lets be honest they already have a lot more money than the rest of us.
Spotify explained : “By bringing listeners into our free, ad-supported tier, we migrate them away from piracy and less monetised platforms and allow them to generate far greater royalties than they were before”
According to economists Luis Aguiar and Joel Waldfogel, “interactive streaming appears to be revenue-neutral for the recorded music industry”. This means that although streaming has lowered the amount of traditional music sales, artists will make the same amount from streaming that they would have originally done from more traditional medias. Below is the method Spotify use to to compensate each artist:
Here is an interview with the CEO of Spotify discussing the future of the company:
Although it is easy for the consumers of these services to work out the benefits and pitfalls of each streaming service (this is mostly done by cost and number of songs available). The artist themselves also have to decide to allow their music to be streamed.
The open music model developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states that music should now be seen as a “service” rather than as individual records (products). According to this theory services like Spotify are the future of music. This is supported by consumer spending of paid subscriptions rising by 25% to $799 million.