At what point do musicians converge on the subject of streaming? I pretty much have a “love-hate” relationship with Apple Music and Spotify.
The “love” portion is as a result of me being a fan of music and an avid listener. Truth be told, I love listening to new artists/genres in music so streaming is a dream come true. In the past I had to save the equivalent of $1 (12 South African Rands) and take a taxi to the city in the hope that the new Winans or Jonathan Butler album would be at the record store. Spending my hard earned money (I had to deliver newspapers to earn it) on that new LP Vinyl was absolutely worth it, especially if I was the first one amongst my friends to have it.
The experience was pretty much the same when it came to buying CD’s or tapes/cassettes. I also loved reading the covers to find out who was involved in the music making process. I would’ve never heard of Quincy Jones, Fred Hammond, Babyface, Teddy Riley or Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. I wanted to be a music producer since my teenage years.
As many people have lamented, something strange has happened over the past ten years or so. It seems that no-one things music is worth paying for anymore. Personally I stopped buying CD’s because they became way too expensive. iTunes and downloading (whether legal or illegal) seemed a more convenient proposition. Youtube also gave us the opportunity to find and listen to the oldest and/or most obscure music known to man at the click of a button. For free.
Glancing over my last Spotify Statement it is evident to me that my music is being heard in the most remote corners of the earth, Tajikistan I’m talking about you Spotify not only made this possible, it also pays me money for this. Herein lies my biggest gripe though. In some cases the money paid to me is of such insignificance that it would take years for Spotify to pay me back the money I’ve spent recording and producing the music in the first place.
So, who is the winner here? Should I be grateful that my music is available to people at all? I don’t know what’s the end game really… Maybe you can tell me?