I’m not really sure what musicians are bitching about when it comes to Spotify. A lot of people act like it screws over everyone that puts their music into it, but I’ve got serious doubts about that. I read somewhere, maybe in an article about how bad Jay-Z’s new music app is flopping, that Spotify effectively pays the artist pennies per stream. Maybe that sounds bad but think about it. Just think it over. If you’re a truly successful rock or pop star, how many pennies do those millions of listens (per song) get you. I’m willing to bet it’s more than I have. So sure, maybe they’re not getting as filthy rich off of it as they are through other mediums (which are still out there too, in the form of CD’s, digital downloads, concerts, merchandise, and so on).
There’s also another fairly important factor I don’t see many people talk about. Not the people I’m around every day, face to face, not on the news channels, and not even on the internet. The streaming service that supposedly screws over the artist is extremely limited in comparison to an iPod or (imo) a CD. The free version is only available to listen to on your computer and only when you have an internet connection. The paid version? It has an offline mode and you can play shit on your phone. Big fucking deal. I mean it’s nice to be able to hear it all for free, but you only get to do it in certain contexts – and please, for Christ’s sake, don’t tell me I’m the only one that rolls my eyes at the idea of listening to music on my phone.
It could just be me but personally, I’d rather have the sound quality of my iPod, my computer speakers, or something along those lines. Not a goddamn cell phone. I’ll pay the cash for an actual CD or a digital download if I like an album or musician, thank you very much. And this coming from a guy that doesn’t have much money, not for things like that. If you’re good at what you do, people like me will buy your shit. They will. They do. Rock stars might not be making as much as they used to, I’ll grant that. But they’re still making a hell of a lot more than I am; and you know, the argument could be made that if they give a damn about their art at all, they only need enough to comfortably cover the cost of living and keep making music.
Anyone that most of the country has heard about is likely making more than that, so the ones that bitch about not being paid enough need to take their complaints and shove them as far up their ass as they’ll go. Making enough money to live your dream, to chase after bigger ones, that’s nothing to complain about. And the only one that can get you there is you. Even with new bands, bitching about the fans not paying enough for music is like a blogger bitching that no one will read his posts. There’s a certain point where you might want to admit it’s not them. Want more readers? Write more, write better, reach out, network. Same thing goes for musicians. Want a bigger audience? Keep making music, practice, reach out.
If you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it. Don’t try to shift the blame if you fail, pointing fingers at a cruel uncaring world. ‘Cause let me tell you… that wouldn’t help you along even if it were true. Focus on what you want and go for it, again and again and again. And don’t blame your fucking audience, or the market, or the industry. Take it in as it is, understand it, get a feel for the playing field. Then… play to win. Easy? No, probably not. But it’s pretty damn simple. Bring all of this back to what I was originally on about… are artists short-changed? Fuck no. Not in my opinion anyways. If they don’t like getting pennies per stream then maybe we can go back to the “illegal downloads vs. CD’s & iTunes” game.
They should just be happy there’s a free alternative out there now that actually does make them a little money, ’cause they sure weren’t getting any when “free” was exclusively in reference to pirated music. The industry might have changed but it’s not like they’re starving. The ones that are having a hard time just need to open their eyes to the new playing field, I’d say. Take in the new terrain, then go at it. The ones that already have seem to be doing just fine.