Is Music Streaming Killing the Industry?

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Most young people these days listen to or purchase their music on the Internet and the most popular online method is streaming. With the most popular of these services being Spotify.

As of September 2016, Spotify had over 40m paying subscribers which is an increase of 10m from March alone with 18-24-year-olds making up the largest portion of the user base at 23%. The site aims to provide high quality music streaming at an affordable price of around £7 per month. They even have a free service that factors in adverts to make up for lost revenue. But despite the clear influx of profit, some artists claim they hardly see any of this money.

An artist earns an average of $0.0084 per stream on Spotify and many famous artists such as James Blunt have been very outspoken against the way Spotify distribute their money, making many satirical tweets to the company.


And it’s criticism from within the industry that is leading critics to say that streaming is killing music because these days it’s very hard to make a living out of music. In part the decline in sales of CD and vinyl sales means an artist and a record store can no longer sell music at its deserved price. For consumers they head straight to the Internet as they can access every song and album far cheaper and more easily.

But it’s not only Spotify that comes under fire. Apple Music which launched just last year has already seen many artists such as Jay-Z and Taylor Swift demanding a fairer pay apportionment and threatening to pull their music from the site.  Artists are obviously the hardest hit by the mass move to digital however I feel it’s a necessary evil. If an artist didn’t have any online presence today they would be irrelevant. With 40% of the world’s population having an Internet connection it would be folly not to post music online. Even if you may get worse remuneration at first, by spreading your brand across the globe you may have a proportion of online users go out and buy your physical music.

In summary, I feel that despite the harsh nature of reduced income through online music streaming, an artist or band should upload to streaming websites in order to create a domino effect. Music streaming might be hurting the pocket but it certainly isn’t killing the industry.


By Innes Enslin


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