Thread For Chatter About The Streaming Music Economy

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Usually convos about this stuff have been on the spotify c or dthread, but since those tend to be filled with back-and-forths with glenn about the ability to star and sort, i figured we could use a thread covering the issues surrounding beats, spotify, tidal, rdio, etc etc

good article in forbes covering the issue of some of these sites (and not just spotify) giving the major labels equity

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2015/04/15/revenge-of-the-record-labels-how-the-majors-renewed-their-grip-on-music/

da croupier, Sunday, 19 April 2015 16:36 (six years ago) link

while i knew that income had to go through spotify's secretive accounting logic before getting through the only slightly less secretive accounting logic of labels, i wasn't aware of specific details like this

So how do the labels make money from the spread? Let’s understand the concept of “breakage.” The labels generally ask for digital partners to front an advance, not unlike how they worked with the record clubs of yesteryear. When a contract expires, there’s often a difference between the royalties earned and the initial advance. The labels generally keep that difference. When the labels re-negotiate, it’s with entities in which they hold significant stakes, ensuring the same rules apply all over again.

The black box has many other ways to squeeze money from the artist. For example, “Drunk in Love” is undoubtedly a hit single performed by Beyoncé and Jay Z–but it exists under many different names (“Drunk in Love” by Various Artists, by Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, etc.). In cases of mislabeling, royalties don’t typically go to music’s royal couple but rather a pool of unclaimed cash eventually doled out to the labels at a rate commensurate with their market share.

And while U.S. laws exempt broadcasters from paying out royalties on the recording side, foreign laws often do not. When an American act scores a hit in the U.K., it’s not clear how often the U.K. label pays through to the U.S. label and performer. FORBES estimates that labels are collecting $300 million worth of putatively “unattributable” money each year.

da croupier, Sunday, 19 April 2015 16:39 (six years ago) link

“unattributable” money

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 April 2015 14:22 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

i pay roughly $30 a month for Spotify, Apple and Tidal because being able to virtually anything I want for the amount that used to buy me 3 CDs is pretty fucking cool and i pay way more for cable TV, which i care about way less.

― a goon shaped tool (some dude), Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:09 AM (6 hours ago)

not the most ideal solution but i'm considering it.

(•̪●) (carne asada), Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:26 (five years ago) link

I had all of those and google play music too for about a year but have decided that I can live with just keeping spotify and tidal. Apple music basically ruined my working relationship with itunes so there's that.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:28 (five years ago) link

i'd forgotten about Google music I'm guessing that would integrate well since i'm on Android . I've never even tried to use it .

(•̪●) (carne asada), Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:31 (five years ago) link

torrenting music feels like such a long time ago.

ulysses, Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:35 (five years ago) link

seems like torrenting is making a little comeback now that there are so many streaming exclusives.

i'm a weirdo in that i just skipped over the downloading era completely. i still buy physical formats partly b/c i like not being dependent on an internet connection. (and for some reason i'm not bothered by the time it takes for me to put on a cd/record, whereas i am bothered by having to watch those spinning circles when spotify is being glitchy.)

i do use spotify frequently, though. especially to preview stuff and to soundtrack, like, baby showers and road trips. i'm open to switching to tidal, but i dread having to meticulously re-curate my incomparable baby shower playlists.

dc, Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:43 (five years ago) link

definitely dependent on Spotify playlist for listening, discovering and sharing now. would hate to lose that.

(•̪●) (carne asada), Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:49 (five years ago) link

I do still prefer physical music, just not anywhere near enough to justify the economic and space tradeoff. So I've been almost exclusively Spotify for some time now, and I'm currently running a trial of Tidal, which I might be willing to keep alongside Spotify for the stuff Spotify doesn't have.

www.ramenclassaction.com (man alive), Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:52 (five years ago) link

Streaming exclusives bother me so much more than artists who forgo streaming and restrict everything to one download platform, like Bandcamp (or the Radiohead direct model).

sam jax sax jam (Jordan), Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:58 (five years ago) link

Streaming exclusives only punish people who already pay for music. It's unreasonable to expect most fans to pay for three services and competition between massive tech companies only hurts music companies and artists in the long run. It's bad economics for artists, too. You'll lose money if your music isn't available on every service, and whatever money you get upfront does not make up for the catalog streams that you will lose over the years.

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Thursday, 19 May 2016 00:58 (five years ago) link


i pay roughly $30 a month for Spotify, Apple and Tidal because being able to virtually anything I want for the amount that used to buy me 3 CDs is pretty fucking cool and i pay way more for cable TV, which i care about way less.

― a goon shaped tool (some dude), Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:09 AM (6 hours ago)

i'm also considering this but isn't the end result that i pay 3x as much and the artists i listen to don't see any of that extra money?

tpp, Thursday, 19 May 2016 06:44 (five years ago) link

even aside from the cost, having to switch between three programmes depending on what i want to listen to is the opposite of convenient (and especially so on creakier computers). one of the reasons i still do most of my listening on mp3 is to have everything - e v e r y t h i n g - in one place.

(i've still never used tidal or apple music but given how much i dislike the spotify experience when i do use it, i'm very open to them)

cher guevara (lex pretend), Thursday, 19 May 2016 06:49 (five years ago) link

i guess mp3s still make sense if you listen mostly at home. if you travel and/or spend a lot of time working on company laptops then having all your music as mp3s on a hard drive as home is really the opposite of convenient.

tpp, Thursday, 19 May 2016 06:54 (five years ago) link

i pay roughly $30 a month for Spotify, Apple and Tidal because being able to virtually anything I want for the amount that used to buy me 3 CDs is pretty fucking cool and i pay way more for cable TV, which i care about way less.

― a goon shaped tool (some dude), Wednesday, May 18, 2016 8:09 AM (6 hours ago)

Chance the Rapper has me considering this too, but I really can't afford multiple direct debits. I have Spotify since I pretty much only listen while travelling/on work computers, but increasingly missing out on new stuff is depressing. I guess I will succumb to another service at some point, but nothing about it seems beneficial for either artist or audience. I just don't want to lose anything! My memory cannot be relied upon to later recall forgotten and not saved artists.

if you travel and/or spend a lot of time working on company laptops then having all your music as mp3s on a hard drive as home is really the opposite of convenient.

Everything I put in iTunes is automatically uploaded to or matched within my free Google Play Music account (up to 50,000 songs), so my library is accessible everywhere.

early rejecter, Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:32 (five years ago) link

There's also Subsonic, which lets you stream your music collection from your own computer.

ArchCarrier, Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:38 (five years ago) link

i also might feel weird about everything i listen to being fed into a system and tracked and analyzed. that probably makes me sound narcissistic or like one of those weirdos who's paranoid about licking stamps...but i like how cds and records are off the grid.

it also weirdly satisfies me when my spotify discover weekly is wildly off-base. i contain multitudes!

dc, Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:49 (five years ago) link

stream-curious but i still rock mp3s, and also have a literal iPod

de l'asshole (flopson), Thursday, 19 May 2016 15:26 (five years ago) link

Is there a single benefit of Spotify over Apple Music? Apple Music has a better interface, is already integrated into my iTunes and iPhone (so I can have Siri queue up just about any album or song while I'm driving), and now it has pretty vital exclusives. What does Spotify offer?

Evan R, Thursday, 19 May 2016 15:46 (five years ago) link

for me its just spotify happening to be my legacy service. i have a few huge playlists there that i'm not eager to try and port over or reconstruct on another platform.

evol j, Thursday, 19 May 2016 15:55 (five years ago) link

What does Spotify offer?

comfort with the interface tbh but maybe someone can speak to the breadth of label coverage for apple.... do they have document records for instance?

ulysses, Thursday, 19 May 2016 15:58 (five years ago) link

I like that someone can provide a product like Spotify without being Apple. If Apple had done it ten years ago I might feel differently. Competing service providers would be better without the utter bullshit of exclusive content.

nashwan, Thursday, 19 May 2016 15:59 (five years ago) link

The mere existence of Apple Music has fucked with my local files. Apparently just having an Apple Music tab on the application, even without signing up, causes iTunes to go back and try to match your local files with the files on the Apple server. I have a lot of local files so each time I opened iTunes it would massively slow down my computer and make it impossible for me to play any of my songs. That, plus the horror stores of Apple Music deleting local files from hard drives keeps me content with Spotify over Apple Music.

As far as the platform itself, the collaborative playlisting and social aspect of Spotify is the biggest advantage over Apple.

a poon shaped mule (voodoo chili), Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:01 (five years ago) link

even aside from the cost, having to switch between three programmes depending on what i want to listen to is the opposite of convenient (and especially so on creakier computers).

Don't you have Sonos, which has an app that integrates at least two of them?

Matt DC, Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:02 (five years ago) link

I have Spotify, Tidal, Soundcloud and Mixcloud all set up on mine now and it integrates them all seamlessly.

The actual Spotify desktop app (and to a lesser extent the Android app) remain regularly unbearably slow and clunky and it beggars belief they haven't sorted this out yet, especially given how smooth and fast the experience used to be. I've not bothered to download the Tidal desktop app because I don't need it, but the UX of the Android app leaves a lot to be desired.

The Apple Music UI is complete bullshit and the worst of all of them.

Matt DC, Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:05 (five years ago) link

At this stage though my playlist library on Spotify is so big and the social aspects so useful that I'm not really prepared to switch unless there's a very good reason to.

Matt DC, Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:06 (five years ago) link

loving the fact we had the build up as to whether matt dc was going to get sonos, and the happy glow now that he has it !

(i am fast approaching the 65,000 limit, and so having to think about my options)

mark e, Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:39 (five years ago) link

i remember a time when i had my immediate listening music spread out on vinyl, tape, mp3, cd and minidisc so maybe this isn't THAT inconvenient but it's inconvenient

ulysses, Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:50 (five years ago) link

Interesting. So much of Spotify's popularity seems to boil down to "it was first." It's got the biggest base of grandfathered-in users. Seems like Apple Music could easily add the playlist features and social components if they wanted to.

I won't use Spotify because it ran soooooo slow on my computer, and always opened itself without me asking it to. Such a big, nasty program I began to think of it as a virus. Also that alien green and funeral black design is utterly garish; I simply hated looking at it.

Evan R, Thursday, 19 May 2016 16:52 (five years ago) link

It it was a while ago that you tried Spotify, the client has probably been rebuilt once or twice since then, so you might want to re-test your assumption that it's slow. (It's definitely still black and green.)

glenn mcdonald, Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:00 (five years ago) link

i will cop here to distrusting spotify as a working service for quite sometime in favor of an old build. I've updated to the current build (i think just before the end of last year) and am finding it robust and pretty workable for my needs.

ulysses, Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:02 (five years ago) link

some of my thinking on picking up or switching to tidal/apple/google services is of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" variety but the balkanization of exclusives is a very good argument to open all doors and then have one key service of your own choice for everyday listening

if you had told me as a college student that i could buy all you could eat music with about 75% of anything I want for under $400 a year, I would've leapt at the chance. I was likely spending at least that much every three months on physical media.

ulysses, Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:05 (five years ago) link

Spotify has ben rock solid for me since the beginning of the year or so. The newish phone app update was a huge step in the right direction too

Spottie, Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:11 (five years ago) link

Tidal seems to kind of suck for jazz, pretty weak selection. I'm assuming some of the major small jazz labels haven't signed on yet.

www.ramenclassaction.com (man alive), Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:20 (five years ago) link

A lot of the artists I searched had a bunch of off-brand looking comps and very few original records.

www.ramenclassaction.com (man alive), Thursday, 19 May 2016 17:21 (five years ago) link

i have a sonos speaker which mostly goes unused bc when i tried to match it up to my main itunes library it said something about wanting to keep my laptop on all the time

cher guevara (lex pretend), Friday, 20 May 2016 08:23 (five years ago) link

i have a couple of rolling playlists in spotify (for other ppl) and idk whether this is just because i'm on the free version but every time i go in it's so slow, freezes all the time, search function is unreliable etc etc. horrible experience all round.

cher guevara (lex pretend), Friday, 20 May 2016 08:25 (five years ago) link

Maybe it's time to update the app? Before I switched to Premium I had a really old version that I for some reason thought was superior to the new ones and didn't update. Well, it wasn't better.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Friday, 20 May 2016 08:54 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

http://www.thembj.org/2016/06/the-drama-of-artist-payments/

^nothing too new here, but seems a reasonable and of the moment primer
(unless someone wants to disabuse me of that notion?)

De La Soul is no Major Lazer (ulysses), Thursday, 16 June 2016 16:53 (five years ago) link

_Should_ a song cost as much as an avocado? Discuss.

hypnic jerk (rushomancy), Thursday, 16 June 2016 22:50 (five years ago) link

how ripe is the avocado?

thrusted pelvis-first back (ulysses), Friday, 17 June 2016 16:21 (five years ago) link

Trying to buy more records new, but most of my records these days are bought off Discogs or the Cat Protection shop in Llandudno

saer, Friday, 17 June 2016 16:50 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

I'm surely not the first to think this, but it just occurred to me that the economy of streaming is very different in that in order for songs to generate profit they need replay value - whereas you only need to sell a copy once, doesn't matter economically if people listen to a cd or not

niels, Tuesday, 4 October 2016 15:08 (four years ago) link

Yeah -- i have favorite records, like all time favorite records, which I have never listened to more than a couple of times a year just because that's the kind of records they are.

I wish you could see my home. It's... it's so... exciting (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 4 October 2016 15:17 (four years ago) link

And some conceptual/experimental music is probably not meant to be streamed over and over

niels, Wednesday, 5 October 2016 06:45 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

The letter and signatories to the letter we've sent to @BorisJohnson this morning.#BrokenRecord pic.twitter.com/i8o9AWGRVs

— Tom Gray #BrokenRecord (@MrTomGray) April 20, 2021

groovypanda, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 11:39 (three months ago) link

wait, what are the two words??

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 11:42 (three months ago) link

The "two words" thing is kind of a flourish, but the idea is that there's an "otherwise than" in that particular law that, if removed, would facilitate applying the UK's "equitable remuneration" laws to streaming music by treating it as a form of broadcasting instead of a form of sale.

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 13:51 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-57838473

DJI, Wednesday, 21 July 2021 20:51 (one week ago) link


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