100 000 STREAMS IS NOT R100 000

Streaming services are a popular way to listen to music, but are they fair to the artists who create it? 

In this post, we will argue that streaming services use streaming to rob artists by collecting a lot of advertising and subscription money from music they don’t make, while the creators are only getting paid peanuts per stream even though they are the one’s who drive the traffic to their platforms, the traffic that allows them to make billions.

Streaming services claim that they are providing a service to both listeners and artists, by giving them access to a large library of music and paying them royalties for each stream. However, this model is flawed and exploitative and only Favours the streaming service and listeners.

First of all, streaming services take a large cut of the revenue from advertising and subscriptions, which is their main source of income. According to a report by Soundcharts, Spotify made approx. R170 billion in 2020 from advertising and subscriptions, but only paid out R94 billion to rights holders. This means that Spotify kept a little bit over half of the money for itself, while the artists and labels had to share the rest.

Secondly, streaming services pay artists very little per stream, which means that they have to rely on volume to make any significant income. According to Digital Music News, the average payout per stream on Spotify is R0.0605. This means that an artist would need MORE THAN 100 000 streams to make a decent earning. This is unrealistic for most artists, especially independent ones who do not have the support of a major label or a large fan base.

Thirdly, streaming services devalue music by making the artists to basically sacrifice the income for brand recognition hoping that when more people stream the music, they’ll get the fame that allows them to get performing gigs, and start earning a decent living which is a long shot for most independent artists with decent fanbase.

A better alternative to streaming services would be platforms where people can easily buy the songs at a fixed cost using credit cards and vouchers and keep the music on the app to listen later just like most streaming sites already do. This would benefit both listeners and artists in several ways.

– First of all, listeners would have more control over their music library and be able to listen offline without ads or interruptions or having to re download the songs. They would also have more appreciation for the music they buy and the artists who create it.

– Secondly, artists would receive more money per sale and have more direct contact with their fans. They would also have more creative freedom and independence, as they would not have to conform to the algorithms or playlists of streaming services.

Platforms like this already exist, such as Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Singo.store and Patreon. These platforms allow artists to sell their music directly to their fans and offer them various perks and benefits. For example, Bandcamp allows artists to set their own prices and offers them 80-85% of the revenue. Singo.store allows users to buy music using vouchers straight to their phones with the artist keeping 70-80% of royalties, Patreon allows artists to create membership tiers and offer different rewards to their patrons.

These platforms are fairer and more sustainable than streaming services, as they support the artists who make the music and the listeners who love it. Streaming might be the way of the present and future but at what cost?