The world is evolving every day; nobody in the early 2000s would have thought that listening to unlimited songs on the go without downloading them into your iPod or Walkman was possible. The music industry has gone through a massive transformation, with the introduction of online platforms where listeners can now listen to music for free or after paying a nominal price for subcription.
In a world where there’s unlimited aspiring talent, musicians, artists, and more – online streaming services have been an additional boost in exploring one's talent and getting an online responses to it. In recent years, with an ongoing pandemic and concerts taking a huge blow; most of the music industry worldwide has shifted to online platforms which include various music streaming services.
In the process, large record labels have found aspiring musicians online and brought their talent to the worldwide audience. A study by BPI shows that 71% of people in the UK, US, Germany, Japan, and China are using smart speakers for streaming music, of which 34% have claimed to have discovered new music with the help of music streaming services. A MIDiA research shows that various streaming channels were the primary source of a 30% increase in the overall music revenue increase.
With such strong statistics backing it up, it’s safe to say that the music streaming world is expanding as we speak, but is it as beneficial to new and young artists as it appears? Let’s go over how these streaming services are benefitting or harming artists. But before we dive into that, let’s explore the basics of music streaming services.
What Are Music Streaming Services?
In today's technological global village, music streaming services are another easy-to-use method for both music listeners and creators. Music streaming services include web-based services that allow users to stream their favorite songs from the ease of their computers and handheld devices.
These services have given various aspiring artists the chance to explore their talent and make it available to eager listeners around the world.
Evolution of Streaming Services
Can you imagine a world where you had to download a few special songs into your iPods or MP3 players, or when you had to wait for a music CD or cassette to come out? What seem unimaginable now are practices that were common merely two decades ago. The world of music streaming services has helped music enthusiasts uniquely access music.
Music streaming websites started in an era of illegal streaming and pirated music and were a breath of fresh air so music enthusiasts could legitimately access music. Some of the oldest music streaming sites include YouTube and Spotify.
When music streaming websites came about, many artists saw them as a blessing that made their music more accessible to listeners, even if it didn't settle well with large music distribution companies. However, 15 years into the creation of the first music streaming service, artists are now beginning to doubt whether these services are beneficial for them, or if they are taking away their limited chances at success.
Later in the blog, we’ll be going over whether these services are helping or hindering young musicians and artists. Before that, let’s take a look at some of the most popular music streaming services around the world. Let’s begin!
Popular Music Streaming Services
There are numerous music streaming services available for every music enthusiast around the world, but there are few that deliver good quality music with unlimited options to choose from. Here are some of the top music streaming services that are trending internationally.
Tidal is one of the most popular music streaming services right now. It promises good sound quality and delivers high-resolution master tracks for listeners to enjoy, anytime, anywhere. Apart from having quality tracks, Tidal has an engaging interface that has become more accessible to listeners and artists after the recent changes.
There’s a range of music options available to the average listener, and that is not all. Tidal is a great way for artists to become recognized, and earn an income through direct payment methods. Tidal has introduced the option of direct payment to artists based on listener habits. While that sounds great, it can also be extremely unsettling – what if listeners never find new music based on trending algorithms?
We've all heard of YouTube! It's one of the easiest and most accessible applications on all our smartphones. With advancements in technology, you can even access the application on your smart TVs. YouTube is an easy-to-use application that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere. All they need is a stable internet connection.
Some consider YouTube Music to be a music publication service for aspiring artists. The application has an extremely easy-to-use interface, with a large vault for forgotten music. It’s free for everyone around the world. One of the greatest benefits of using YouTube Music is having access to videos along with high-definition audio.
Even though it’s one of the most widely accepted music streaming services, it still has a few drawbacks that can't be overlooked; like the endless ads.
Apple Music comes with a vast catalog, great sound quality, and intelligent curation for finding the perfect music suited to the listener's taste in music. The Apple Music application is created especially for iOS users, and it becomes easy to navigate when you use it as a whole.
For people who are working with the Apple ecosystem, Apple Music is a great addition to their collection of music. It provides high-quality songs, with unlimited options. However, the application is mostly only targeted to iOS users and doesn't work well on other digital formats.
Launched in the year 2006, Spotify has completely transformed how music is being heard across the globe. The application is easy to use and can be extremely helpful in discovering new kinds of music. If you’re a music enthusiast, you’ll know how important Spotify can be for a quick run around the block, a long drive, or when you’re doing chores around the house.
The application gives you access to a wide range of music and artists that you can choose from. It can be used for free, but if you want an advertisement-free music experience, then you will have to buy a plan for better service. Various record labels have been publishing music directly to Spotify and making tons of money.
However, the application will give you numerous ads unless you upgrade to an ad-free plan.
Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon Music Unlimited has an excellent catalog of music and artists that you can choose from. They offer cultural and regional varieties which make music more international, and accessible. It also gives new artists a chance to explore international markets along with local ones.
They offer some of the best high definition and ultra-high definition content for music listeners. The tracks are of premium sound; however, the application is not free tier; you need to have a paid subscription to access their catalogs.
Amazon Music Unlimited is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and iOS applications.
Benefits of Streaming Services to Artists
There has been constant debate about whether streaming services are a good addition for artists or not. There’s been a lot of noise surrounding the music streaming industry about how much damage it is creating for young and aspiring artists. However, there are several reasons why streaming services have only added to the ease for new artists. Let’s explore some of the benefits of streaming services for artists.
The world is filled with people who have undeniable talent, but most of it went unnoticed until large music publishing companies did not give musicians their career breaks. Many artists were only able to perform in local bars, events, or in their rooms.
With widespread popularity of music streaming services, a lot of independent artists have gained success. Streaming services are built around numerous tactics that offer excessive and aggressive marketing for music and its artists. When large record labels for aspiring artists make a profit through these services, smaller artists working under them benefit as well.
While the profit margin might not be too large, the more a record label makes, the more profit is available for smaller artists. Similarly, independent artists benefit from ratings on these websites as well—it earns them profit and recognition. When labels look for talent, they will opt for independent artists that already have a following.
You no longer have to book a show to get your songs or talent to a large audience. With the help of music streaming services, content is widely available to people around the world. It can provide more audience than in a private concert. The larger the audience, the greater the chances of success.
In today's day and age, all your music needs to succeed is one person to genuinely like it and share it – the rest is easy. Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber are living tales of music going viral through private channels which turned them into teen sensations!
Passive Income Stream
Income from music streaming services might not be too large, but it is passively generated. It gives independent artists a steady income to work on while they increase their popularity online. Most artists have made large sums of money benefitting from these passive income streams.
Disadvantages of Streaming Services to Artists
Despite its many benefits, there are several drawbacks of music streaming websites to independent artists. Here are some of the most common disadvantages that an artist has to face on music streaming services.
The more digitized the world is becoming, the greater the role algorithms play is. Most music streaming services make use of algorithms to make better playlists for people according to their consumption habits. Algorithms play a large part in how music is shown to us. It focuses on the type of music we listen to and curates playlists suited to our selection.
With the algorithm playing such a huge role, the chances of discovering new music become even slimmer than before. It creates negative trends, forcing artists and record labels to create a certain type of music; which in turn kills creativity for artists.
Independent Musicians Are Forgotten
With the use of algorithms, the system is used to produce similar results over and over again. In this glitch, the system overlooks new types of music and artists. They get lost in a sea of likes, subscribers, and trends.
In addition to system glitches, many large music distributors are making business deals with music streaming services to make sure they have a say in what trends. When such acts take place, the results are inorganic, and therefore artists that have no representation are often overlooked and ignored.
Low Pay Outs
Tidal is one of the only music streaming services that offer direct payment to artists to ensure that artists make the money from the music they make. However, not all music streaming website offer the same privilege. Most of them are only providing a fraction of the total income they make, which reduces the revenue that artists can secure without representations.
Discovering New Music…
While mainstream music streaming services are threatening your chances at discovering good quality music; there are music distribution companies like Jasberger Music. They are a music publication service for young artists and they work as a record label for aspiring artists. Whether you want or buy music merchandise, get music lessons, or use their publication services – they will help with it all.
Make use of their resources and keep discovering new music, every day!