Paid streaming means that copyright are paid, paid streaming means that interpreters are paid, paid streaming means that creativity, quality and effectiveness are fostered. So it’s a good thing! And let’s make no mistake: paid streaming does not mean that only an elite can access; it’s just a question of adapting the price policy.
As we’ve explained it earlier on this blog, music is not dying but the industry has been recently struggling. However streaming has appeared as the way digital revolution takes for music, and offers new opportunities to re-shuffle the cards.
We’ve also explained that, from our perspective at Bustle Music, a culture of ‘free’ has lead to jeopardise our relationship to the environment, to ourselves and to the others. Whereas a culture of ‘pay’ is vertueuse.
So streaming: ok; paying: ok.
But paid streaming, for music…is that really the only way to foster music creativity and support musicians?
Let’s take a step back. We want musicians, good musicians to compose and produce music, and to entertain us. They might be ‘artists’, they still need to live. So in order for them to get some revenues, and having in mind that streaming is the main distribution form of music nowadays, let’s assess the three other options where listeners don’t pay, to see where it also doesn’t work strictly from a musician perspective.
First possibility: the market decides.
Music is on free access for everyone, and add companies pay the artists most seen. Of course I have in mind Youtube here. Unfortunately reality has shown that then eventually only one, or maybe very few actors get a nice chunk of the cake. For your additional information, as I’ll explain in another article, a distribution service which is free does not pay for copyrights. So really, unless you are a very very successful artist you won’t get a penny with this route. It’s everything, or nothing.
The second option is the institutional route.
It would be like having an online music library run by the UNESCO, providing a free service to every listener on Earth. But that’s just postponing the problem: who pays? Even an initiative like Wikipedia, which does not pay for content, struggles to stay alive every year. So for music, where you’ll have to retribute the content too, it just sounds like an utopia. Beside, once again history is not on our back when it comes to giving things easily without any effort and expecting a good level of creativity.
The final possibility is what so called the ‘British counter-model’.
It’s the idea that music is deliver for free through the internet to increase visibility, and the tacit moral contract is that listeners go massively to live performance, supporting there the artists. The best example of a streaming service going in that direction is Jamendo: the music is protected under creative common, so it’s free for streaming and downloading. However you can only go to one gig a night, but you might listen to few hours of music everyday. With more musicians, even if there are also more venues, there are so many gigs opportunities that listeners are diluted (if a musician takes 50€/gig, even if he plays 5 nights/week, he will only make 1 000€ a month). The reality is that musicians pro make their living through other ways, like musicians pro actually get revenues from the jamendo licensing service (an additional service provided by Jamendo dealing with synchro – =selling music to be used in add, short movies-,…). This models totally follow the ‘open source’ wave. But ‘open source’ is brilliant for ideas, so in our case the auteurs. But what about those using those ideas to do aka the interpreters?
In a nutshell:
paid streaming means that copyright are paid,
paid streaming means that interpreters are paid,
paid streaming is not only possible (have a look at Bustle Music‘s model if your don’t believe it!) but also means that creativity, quality and effectiveness are fostered.
So it’s a good thing!
And let’s make no mistake: paid streaming does not mean that only an elite can access; it’s just a question of adapting the price policy.