Since Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace eliminated their albums from Spotify, a heated debate continues to be raging over the value of streaming music providers for artists and the music industry.
The argument might have gone popular in recent weeks, but it’s not a new discussion. Actually, the question of how streaming pays off for musicians continues to be causing ructions within the music business for a couple of years now.
It’s an emotional debate, and an essential one at a crucial time for artists and the industry, as they search for the best way forward after greater than a decade of declining sales for noted music, post-Napster.
However it’s additionally a debate focused by gut feelings and data of varying quality, and a tendency to slip into polarised opinions like “Spotify is simply the latest embodiment of THE MAN!” or “Thom Yorke’s a rich HYPOCRITE!”
Recently, I published a roundup of views and data in the streaming music / artists debate for industry site Music Ally. Right now feels like a good time to publish an up-to-date version here, with a choice of 10 pieces for artists and fans alike to read and consider.
Independent artist Krukowski (of Galaxie 500 and Damon and Naomi) has recently made one influential contribution to the streaming debate with the Making Cents op-ed for Pitchfork a year ago, breaking down his royalty payments.
That’s an essential read, but his new piece has some ideas on how the music industry may possibly learn from open-source software culture, with musicians discovering a new “decentralised” network to deliver streaming music and make money off the back of it.