Musicians continue to produce great music and get royalty revenues from many different sources. We still listen to awesome pop, R n’ B, blues, rock, hip-hop, and all other musical genres. Recently, I’ve been listening to an awesome collection of jazz music by an international alto saxophonist posted in a music streaming site. He’s an indie musician who performs exceptional music on an alto saxophone much like the ones at Wind Plays.
While everything seems fine in this thriving industry, there’s no denying the fact that the cash flow in this industry has plummeted over the recent years – far less as compared to the era of vinyl, CDs and record labels. It can be said that success in the age of YouTube, music-streaming and the Internet continues to be a mixed bag.
In the past, musicians and music producers get royalties for every record sold or used. But in the era of YouTube and music-streaming, the pay comes only as passive income from scanty royalty sources, usually in ads. Some argue that the Internet has cost the industry billions and disrupts the business, while others are looking at it at a more optimistic side.
Let’s take a look at how the Internet has changed the music industry – for better or for worse.
Others hail the Internet for making music more accessible and cheaper to obtain (or pirate) but the downside is that it has put the business side on the negative. Everyone involved in music-making depends on royalties and every time music is shared without money involved, there’s no royalty paid. This is the reason why efforts have been made to curb rampant piracy.
But while some progress has been made in curtailing piracy, another development is seen to hurt the industry. The emergence of music streaming services (Pandora and Spotify) and Internet radio has made music significantly cheaper and more accessible. However, given the current pay structure, the labels and artists get considerably far less than if consumers purchase the music outright. Moreover, financial records of these streaming providers show that they also lose. With the existing financial structure, no one is actually earning. Admittedly, there’s a lot to be done to fix this system.
In short, the Internet has made it harder for labels and artists to earn decent income from music sales. A lot of artists now rely on live performances, concerts and other possible direct income sources to subsidize losses. The whole music industry surely hopes that the present system be fixed. But when will it happen, no one really knows.
Quite interestingly, the same Internet that has brought a maelstrom into the music industry is also giving a breath of life into music. The Internet has been an effective platform where new talents, music and creativity are discovered. It has leveled the playing field for both the celebrities and the independent musicians.
Through YouTube and other music streaming sites, we get to see the other side of the industry that would otherwise remain unheard of through the conventional process of music producers. The Internet has opened an avenue for independent music producers to spread and sell their own music sans radio promotion or label. Moreover, given the expansive penetration of Internet into the market, it’s easier to reach the audience. Artists just need to hit the right formula to get people listening to their music. With such a gargantuan barrier out of the way, the music industry is open to all musicians. It would seem that the industry has never been this alive and exciting.
The Internet has drastically changed the music industry in the past years. Regardless of where you’ll look at it — in the negative or positive end – history says that eventually these issues will have them threshed out. Time can only say whether the Internet is boon or bane to the music business.