The big question I see over and over again regarding streaming music, is whether it’s going to‘kill’ the music industry. Which I find rather funny for many reasons.
First off, at every juncture of change in the industry someone cries out with exasperation that the end is coming, as if a change in how we listen will actually have an effect on people’s desire to make music. Sure, it might make it a less desirable road to go down for those more concerned about the money than the music, but as an art form there are always people who want to play, regardless of the compensation, and often those who care less about the compensation put out a better product. Hell, with all the crap out there now, I’m completely for not paying them altogether and weeding out some of the garbage! Anyway, whether it was the advent of the 8 track, or tapes, or music videos, or CDs, or pirating, or streaming, there’s always been some asshole ready to start a revolution against it, and generally it’s the guy most likely to lose money from the changeover. But make no mistake, how we listen has nothing to do with whether there will be anything to listen to, so it’s a baseless argument. And anyway, once the big wigs figure out a way to exploit it, it becomes just the next form of corporate run entertainment, and the whole controversy goes away until something else comes along to upset their stream of revenue and control. It’s a cycle, and an obvious one.
Second, recorded music counts for only a part of any revenue that a musician can make with other forms of merchandizing, live shows, publicity appearances, and the use of content for commercial use rounding out an even bigger share. Sure, back in the day if you sold your song for a Chevy commercial you were kind of selling out, but things have changed, and selling out is now simply selling. There’s still plenty of money to be made, even if it doesn’t come from the sale of a physical playable item. And the truth is, it’s always been this way, and it’s only the witch hunt by those not making money off it yet that allows for the argument to be so distorted.
Third, and maybe most importantly, musicians have been grossly overpaid in the last several decades, and people often forget that before recent times it was unheard of for someone to earn so much playing an instrument and singing a song. It used to be about getting out there and playing, not producing one crappy single a year and hoping it goes viral. Part of the issue is the simple basis for comparison which is horribly skewed giving musicians the fucked up belief that by going back to a more realistic pay standard they’re actually doing worse than they’re supposed to. Let them work for their keep, why should they be different than the rest of us.
The fourth and final reason has to do with our culture in general. We are a culture that loves drama, and over the top antics. We want reasons to complain, to point out persecution. So any chance to throw a shit fit is gladly taken up by the masses and debated like it means something. For the same reason we’re war mongers, and bigots, and easily led into believing anything (rather than looking at history, or statistics, or facts in general), we’re a culture that wants a reason to complain. And if our beloved music industry happens to be the target, than fuck it we’ll complain about it! It doesn’t matter that the argument never made a damn bit of sense.
So to make my stance here perfectly clear, no, streaming music isn’t going to kill the music industry, if anything, it’ll save it from all the pirates (for which all these asshole musicians against it should be down on their knees in thanks that at least some revenue flow will come their way rather than NOTHING). As a side note, every time Thom Yorke gets up there on his soap box bitching and complaining, not only do I want to hit him really hard over the head with a hammer or some kind of blunt object, but I can feel the aneurism about to explode in my own brain. So, sorry to all the drama queens that want to get hysterical over something, but there isn’t any reason here. Just pick a fucking service (Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, Songza, Torch music, Grooveshark…) if you want one, plug the fuck in, and listen. Because it’ll all still be around tomorrow.