From Both Sides Now…The Music Streaming Blame Game

david on stageThere have been a lot of new articles about where is the future of music going since the recent Taylor Swift pull from Spotify, a leading music streaming service. I only know, as with all media news resources, we need to take them for the source they are coming from. In other words, find out more about the issue and don’t listen to one or a few sources opinions before you decide who’s the bad guy.  I know that in the “land of digital music times” and from the perspective of myself being both a musician and listener, I look at these times as pretty awesome for a music lover and performer.  In the days of old, as the radio was THE only source of hearing new music, it was the big label record companies who controlled everything, from who gets a record deal and lands on the radio, to who advertising and DJ’s were told to push as who to buy, and we did. We had to buy an entire album of songs that were likely to be good, but many times were not. We had no choices and then the media collected dust over the decades, from vinyl records left in basements, to CD’s left in trucks of our cars. Now, we get a chance to hear each song before we make our purchase and with our amount we want to spend. We can choose to spend some on one artist and some on another artist, or perhaps an unknown Independent artist we may have heard on the vast amount of places we can hear music for free or via a subscription service. By the way, I’m not spending less on music purchases now. I’m spending more, because I am hearing more music.

This whole media blitz lately, about the evils of Internet companies ripping artists off by playing music for free, reminds me of what the music publishing companies are doing to live performers and venues in local towns and cities all over the country. While pretending to be out there getting those missing dollars back into the pockets of each and every musician, with aggressive and almost mafia’ish bullying tactics of going after every bar, coffee house and tiny dance or music lesson studio, for outlandish license fees which will NEVER put these dollars into the pockets of the small local Independent artist but instead are a new way of making the 1%’ers of the license companies and lawyers just richer. The dreadful cost of this live music venue bashing is that this is the way those artists and legends of today became who they are… by playing the cover music of famous artists at these very same bars and coffee houses. When people heard bands at their local bar playing Doobie Brothers, they didn’t say, “Now I don’t have to buy their album, I just heard it for free”! Live bands and musicians promote and build the representations of recording artists and make their music more popular, not to mention the fact they play their music because the WORSHIP AND LOVE the artist. Another very sad aspect of this licensing bashing to music venues is that bands and musicians can’t find nearly as many places to play live anymore. Venues are stopping live performances because they can’t afford the extravagant fees to the licensing companies. By the way, if an artist thinks that their local club license fees are going to go into their pockets for their original songs….well, good luck with that!

In my opinion, the sources and companies that play music, supposedly for FREE, are promoting the music they and we all love. They are also paying licensing fees behind the scenes and they try to recoup and earn as a business by subscriptions and ads, just like any other business. It is true that I don’t go into retail stores and buy the big mainstream artists music anymore….I buy SOME of their music and I buy SOME music from small amazing artists who would never have that opportunity in the past of the big recording company days. Now I hear so many more types of music than I ever did in the past and then I purchase and give to the artist I want to.

I’m not saying that it’s fair that all the work of an artist ends up selling for $.99 a song. I’m saying that it is my option that the many new ways of hearing streaming music is not the cause of that. Digital music was selling for $.99 a song before all the streaming music became so huge. The whole using the word “Naptster” blame game is a marketing gimmick to promote evil and greed of the 1%’ers. Naptster and file sharing days was wrong because it was simply putting music on large computers and letting everyone download them. Today’s large streaming music companies are paying license and legal fees. It’s good to note here that ANY company that grows into a very large corporation can eventually become greedy as well and do wrong. The point being is to not just throw everyone at the wall like spaghetti to see what sticks. I for one, love the fact that I have choices and places to hear music for free, so I can then spend dollars at the source that go to the artist.

The new ways we get music are not going away any time soon and the rich and powerful will always do whatever they can to get the most dollars from it all, but as long as we all listen, there will always be new ideas and innovators coming up with ways for anyone to get their music heard by us all.

The more kinds of music we can hear and the more chances and pathways a new beginning artist has to get his music heard….the better off we all are….and that’s a good thing.

That’s just one musician/business owner’s opinion….from Both Sides Now….

Thanks for reading and supporting what we do at David’s Music House.



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