To really see how streaming music can change the industry, firstly you have to forget how much they pay the artists.
This isn’t about the artists, its about exposure. If say, there are two albums that have just been released and you want both, one is by your favourite artist and the other one is by someone you just like. Which one do you buy? Well, before the introduction of streaming services you’d pick the one by your favourite artist. Whereas now you can have both and you can listen to them whenever and wherever. And if you only play the album once then at least you haven’t paid for it.
In 1999, Tim Bratton, J.P. Lester, Sylvain Rebaud, Alexandre Brouaux, Nick Sincaglia and Dave Lampton set up the first online streaming service, which they called ‘Aladin’. Commercially, it was used by TuneTo.com a customised radio service. In 2001, TuneTo.com was acquired by Listen.com, founded by the entrepeneur Rob Reid and in December of that year it was relaunched as Rhapsody, which was the first streaming service to offer unlimited access to a huge library database of music on a monthly fee basis. In 2011 Rhapsody acquired the streaming and downloading service, Napster. Some may say, Napster started the whole digital revolution.
Fast forward, to today and you’ll find that we are bombarded with these services, most notably Spotify. according, to news reports Spotify is now worth more than the entire US music industry combined. Which is not entirely true, as they give 70% of their revenue to the record companies, and Spotify is still yet to turn a profit. But even so, it obvious how far they’ve come since 2009, when only 5% of the music industry’s revenue came from streaming, in 2014, 27% came from it. Which just shows how important they are to the music industry.
JAY Z and Tidal.
Where a few have succeeded, many have failed. The most recent one being the JAY Z owned ‘Tidal’. Less than a month after its launch it has fallen out of the top 700 apps in download charts, which one may consider that being a massive flop. I certainly do. Despite the exclusivity of artists it’s failed massively in tempting people away from the big ones like Spotify and Pandora. It seems to have turned people away for, as it’s more about making the richer musicians richer, not as JAY Z claimed, to make it fairer to artists because the get lower royalties from sites like Spotify. People just aren’t trusting of the site and there’s no coming back from where it is now. Maybe, JAY Z should have just stuck to rapping and producing.
“If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out ten artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry… I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid.”