I’ve heard it consistently or the past few years from people young and old: “Music isn’t as good as it used to be”’
While I’ve heard friends say,“there is still good music – you just have to dig — ” or when my dad claims that “music was just as bad in the 80’s,” I have to say that about this decade’s music just seems like a whole step down in quality compared to the years past.
In my opinion, there is one overarching reason for it all: music streaming services.
Even though streaming apps like Spotify or Apple Music are extremely convenient and give the typical listener hours upon hours of music to lend an ear to, in reality, the careers of today’s musicians are being severely damaged. This can mostly be blamed on the extremely meager amount of money that artists make off of their streams. According to a 2018 article by CNBC, on average, Spotify artists make $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream. This would mean that for a song with 1 million streams, the music rights holders would only make about $8,000. In most cases, a significant amount of the money made by streaming services goes to others involved in the production of the music or to the streaming service itself.. This makes it almost impossible for an artist to make a living purely off of streams.
With no other way to make a sizable amount of money, artists are forced to tour relentlessly, sometimes for more than a year at a time, non-stop on the road. Additionally, due to the lack of revenue musicians make, it becomes difficult to stay in the industry, let alone build a long lasting career. This will almost certainly eliminate any power the independent or “indie” movement has, and the huge record labels will have almost complete power over the type of music we consume on a daily basis. To prevent the death of diverse music, fans and artists need to stand up against streaming, and start buying albums again — to save artistry.
This can be accomplished by purchasing digital copies of albums, or going to the many local record stores in the metro, such as Mills Record Company in Westport or Vinyl Renaissance in Overland Park.
Music brings us joy, it excites us and invigorates our lives. It doesn’t matter what genre you enjoy. Without artists collecting the earnings they deserve, the music industry as we’ve always known it, will cease to exist.