In 2020, it’s safe to say a majority of people are aware of the cultural shift towards streaming platforms due to their growing popularity not only in the US but globally. Streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music now take up approximately 80 percent of the music sales in the industry with the remaining 20% being physical sales such as CD’s vinyl, casette’s, etc. A once radio driven world has now become dominated by the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, etc due to their widespread availability, but relatively “low cost” model. Users of the platforms have the option to either use a restricted version of the apps for free, or pay a monthly fee ranging from $5 for students with an active college email or $10 for normal customers. These platforms offer unlimited access to most of the music that’s ever been commercially available and for the average consumer, that’s a steal and they happily pay the price monthly and go about their day. However what they don’t know is how much they as the consumer give up and how much the corporations have to gain. I have always been an advocate for purchasing your music especially physically for as long as I could remember due to my mother raising me to do as such and I’d like to give you some more insight on this topic that is very close to my heart.The first and most important reason that I believe you should purchase your music is that once you buy it, its your property! Now obviously this should go without saying, this does not mean you can distribute the music as you please, but rather the music is yours to do what you please with as long as you are not monetarily benefiting from its use. When you buy a cd for example, you not only have the satisfaction of having something tangible in your hands to hold and call your own but you can play it in your car, you can rip the songs on your computer, download them to your phone, hell you can even burn your own CD! But to me, owning your music is the most important thing especially now with the inconsistency in streaming. Think about it, you pay this premium price to have access to all this music and you spend all this time accumulating playlists and albums in your library and the second you stop paying, they significantly restrict your access/capability. For Spotify, you can’t even select an individual song on an album or playlist you can only shuffle which to me is absurd. An ad in between every other song is already bad enough, but now you can’t even choose which songs you listen to over a couple bucks? And even if you keep paying this price, at any given time they can pull songs from the platform or even alter them and theres nothing you can do to get them back to how they were before because you never really had it in the first place.
Carl Scatena said: “I’ve always paid for my music and I always will. Plus I can’t be bothered with those streaming sites”
source: Carl Scatena
Lets go back to that “steal” of a deal these platforms offer us for to line their pockets monthly. Sure you only pay X amount of dollars at a time and it doesn’t even seem like that much now, but after a while that adds up. Say you’re a regular working class citizen and not a college student so you have to pay that full $10. If you pay that every month for just five years, thats $600 into their pocket and if you were to just stop paying, your access will become very limited. And chances are, you probably won’t have consumed $600 worth of music in that time. Now if you bought your music and paid the full price of an album at one time, you have that for as long as you live and no one can tell you what to do with it or where to take it. Now on the opposite end of this, the artists themselves take a serious pay cut when you stream as opposed to buying outright. According to Billboard an artist needs 1,250 full music streams to be equivalent to just one album sale. This also means that platforms like Spotify pay the owners of the rights of their songs anywhere from $0.006 to $0.0084 per play, ultimatily making them split pennies between multiple parties. And a quick response to that would be, “why don’t you stop streaming like Taylor Swift?” or simply don’t stream at all. Well unfortunately, not everyone has as a dedicated fanbase as she does and is willing to pay for music when streaming platforms are an option so artists are forced to change with the times and switch to this new format in order to keep afloat even if they barely make any money in the process. As an avid music fan, I like to purchase my music and give my favorite artists my direct monetary support so that they can continue to create the art that I enjoy so much and because I’d rather pay the person whose music i’m consuming than a bunch of people who are simply profiting off their hard work.
Nakia Johnson said “I’ve always preferred buying my music above everything else, but I also pay for streaming so I have access to new music”
source: Nakia Johnson