By: Tony Manfetano In light of Taylor Swift’s recent move to pull her entire catalog from Spotify a deeper, more big picture issue arises. The fact that 15 years after Napster started pissing off long haired metal bands we still have not reached a suitable and profitable marriage between the music business and the internet.
From what I gleaned it was Swift’s label, Big Machine Music, who made the decision weeks ago to extricate her music from the music streaming application. Sources claim there was no negotiations and cited the catalyst as an attempt by the label to boost album sales, allegedly.
With full on music distribution platforms such as iTunes and Google Play music is made readily available for any and all to purchase. But alas, the people have spoken with music sales plummeting and streaming sites becoming largely more prevalent.
This is textbook exemplary of the people in power fighting over who makes the money while the artist either loses revenue or takes a loss in distribution of their art. The dispute is over the fact that Spotify pays a lot less in royalties than radio play or album sales. It seems like an easy fix, right? Streaming sites should be made to pay out as if they were terrestrial stations, per spin. Of course there is backlash from Spotify even though they contend the amount in royalties will go up as the subscriber rate increases.
Still, the music business is not totally to blame. The policy makers have been incredulous to say the least about changing anything on the books regarding this topic. It should come as no surprise that the rules in place precede the interweb but these standards are rapidly becoming outdated and, dare I say, archaic.
This is not a matter of venerating our celebrities. Everyone in the creative process suffers in this situation. The songwriters that no one ever knows about who strive for years getting their foot caught in closing doors can’t even live off of writing when they finally break through the industry garrisons.
Trying to point blame evokes a bit of cognitive dissonance in this predicament. Spotify has reached out in attempts to coax Taylor back using the 19 million subscribers who have listened to her songs in just the last 30 days as the dangling carrot, or vestigial hope. So far Big Machine is yet to comment. I can totally see the artist and label’s view, but do not think pulling from the site is the answer. Rather I would work with the exponential pace of technology to figure out where folks are receiving media and capitalize on that.
I predict years from now when the internet has permeated every crevice of the way we live and do business, let alone distribute media, how we do things now will be laughable.
– “And to think, people used to leave their homes and go to actual record stores to pay individually for only 10-16 songs at a time. “
-“Yeah, and my grandpa told me they used come on shiny silver discs.”