Ok, here’s a post that involves creative advocacy and relates to both listeners and creators, both important entities in the world of music and creativity. I’m a musician, a singer/songwriter to be more specific. It’s one of the many hats I wear in addition to being a freelance writer, speaker, and artist. As a musician, it’s been more challenging than ever to figure out how to make a living from my music. I think there is a perception out there that musicians have it better than ever because their music can be heard all over sites like Spotify, by all kinds of new listeners, especially with Spotify’s new affair with Facebook. But is it true? Well……..here comes the slippery slope. At approximately $0.0004 cents per listen, it would take several hundred listens to make 12 cents. Wait for it……..you do the math. Yeah, you knew that was coming. Let’s break through the smoke and mirrors. And before I go getting a bunch of comments saying, “Yeah, but…..”, of course I realize the part of Spotify that brings DISCOVERY, not to mention sheer musical enjoyment, but for purposes of this article, I think Spotify and similar sites may, just may be doing more harm than good. In many ways, it’s harder than ever for musicians to be paid for the music they are passionate about and work so hard to create.
Does it make more sense to have the music readily accessible for “free” so that more people discover your music? Or does that just saturate the market and dilute things to the point that people think, “Why should I pay for it when I can get it for free?”
Some artists, both indie and big time are actually opting OUT of services like Spotify, the thinking being that music is being diluted by being too available with not enough revenue for the “share” factor. And yet, it could also be taking away from discovery. I don’t know what the answers are, but I sure have a lot of questions.
Want to read more? Click these links for some real eye-opening articles:
UPDATE: My next blog about this topic was in June 2012:
What do artists REALLY make with digital distribution?
Great infographic displaying how much musicians earn online:
Indie labels jumping the Spotify ship:
Cellist Zoe Keating, with 1.3 million Twitter followers weighs in on Spotify:
COLDPLAY hasn’t warmed up to Spotify:
David Lowery’s mind-blowing letter:
These two articles are no longer live, but I’m including them in case that changes:
This is the best of the bunch, by musician Cameron Mizell:
http://www.musicianwages.com/the-working-musician/spotify-from-a-musicians-perspective/ (no longer active link)
And one that Cameron links to for balance:
http://www.knowthemusicbiz.com/a-few-reasons-indie-musicians-should-hope-spotify-succeeds/ (no longer active link)