Streaming is compeling a creative but undisciplined industry to give more attention to data. Nevertheless, people in the record industry are talking about another "golden age". There is bound ultimately to be a shake-out among the many new streaming services. But for the music labels, it now seems clear that, once the physical CD has ultimately gone the way of the wax cylinder, they will still have an effective way to exploit their catalogues, based on music fans being offered instant access to a near-limitless online jukebox.
Within the past decade we have seen the progress of digital music services such as iTunes and Amazon. Physical music revenues started to decrease, and digital downloads started to surpass all other outlets. This was mostly due to being able to acquire a single song instead of having to obtain full albums. But now, an additional music service is starting to rise up and compete with these digital downloading services, and many record executives call it the future of music.
Streaming services give music-lovers access to millions of songs, but the services are not all alike. Online-radio versions, including Pandora and Apple's iTunes Radio, choose what consumers hear, and the firms make their revenues through advertising. Others, such as Spotify and Deezer, let customers select songs from a catalog of 20m-30m, charging premium customers a monthly fee. Free services that stream music videos, such as YouTube, also get plenty of play. All the variants pay the record labels some fragment of a penny each time someone clicks on a song.
As an artist who introduces your own records and writes your own music, you, of course, benefit financially from both interactive and non-interactive streams.
For over four years now, we've been somewhat confounded by the disgust from some musicians and labels towards streaming services like Spotify. Pandora is in the front of a transformation in which ever more consumers are streaming music over the web to their smartphones or computers, instead of possessing varieties of tracks. For the first time since Apple promoted the paid download in 2003, the record business is altering key again. From wax cylinders via vinyl, cassettes and CDs to MP3s, it is going through another format transformation-- maybe, some in the business muse, its last.
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Pulling one's record from Spotify-- or, at least, vociferously disseminating complaints about their fairness to performers-- has become the 21stcentury upgrade of those ploys during radio's first decades. In a piece published on Pitchfork in 2012, musician and writer Damon Krukowski comment the landscape for DIY and indie musicians in the 21st century, mentioning that "industrial commercialism on a [small] scope" had given way to a model of "monetary conjecture" that aims to turn revenues for financiers on the backs of cheaply streamed material given by artists. The former Galaxie 500 drummer also opened up the books on his streaming royalties, establishing how pitiful the payouts are for extremely non-paltry numbers of plays.