Streaming Services Have 99 Problems. And They Are…

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(1) Artists make little-to-nothing off of streaming services.

(2) Streaming services claim that artists are making money off of streaming, which has generated massive distrust and anger among artists.

(3) As a result of (1) and (2), artists often get pissed off at streaming services, and sometimes publish their abysmal royalties on sites like Digital Music News.

(4) As a result of (3), streaming services counter that the leaked royalties are miscalculated and inaccurate, which makes artists even more pissed off.

(5) Streaming services like Spotify claim that someday in the near future, artists will make money off of streaming services.  In fact, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says that artists will be making a decent, living wage off of streaming in just a few years.

(6) There is very little evidence to suggest that (5) will ever happen for artists.


(7) Streaming services pay the labels, who typically pay nothing to the artists.

(8) Still, streaming services like Spotify claim that labels pay their artists, which everyone knows is… well…

(9) Major label artists contracts typically ensure that streaming royalties will never, ever be paid to artists.

(10) Major label licensing partners now demand large percentages in the streaming services they license, like Beats Music.  But artists are virtually guaranteed to make nothing off of these massive equity payouts when an IPO or sale occurs.

(11) Arguably worse is SoundCloud, one of the largest audio streaming services on the planet that hasn’t been paying artists a dime.

(12) And when SoundCloud finally agreed to make licensing deals in July, they focused only on the biggest artists and major labels.  Which means, most artists still won’t be getting paid by SoundCloud.


(13) Streaming services suck at proper accounting and payouts.

(14) Artists suffer: according to data compiled by Audiam, streaming services have failed to pay $100 million to artists over the past 12 years.

(15) Labels suffer from incomplete or incorrect play data, which would make things complicated if they decided to pay their artists.

(16) Songs are often written by multiple authors that aren’t all registered properly, which compounds the difficulty of this problem.

(17) Funds for smaller artists and writers that aren’t counted properly are ultimately paid out to the wrong party, typically a larger rights owner like a major label.


(18) Streaming services are actively hostile towards artists and their financial well-being.

(19) This hostility is evident in lots of lying:

“You cannot devalue music.  It’s impossible.”

Tim Quirk, Google Play

“Artists Will Make a Decent Living Off Streaming In Just a Few Years”

Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO

“Not one artist can tell us that streaming music is actually detrimental to the overall bottom line for the artist.”

Spotify Account Manager of Label Relations Katie Schlosser


(20) Streaming services lack transparency.

(21) Artists generally have no idea what they should be getting paid by services like Spotify.

(22) Compounding the problem, services like Spotify refuse to open their books to artists and rights owners that demand it.  This is essentially the opposite of transparency.


(23) Not enough people want to pay for streaming music services.

(24) And the biggest reason for this is that virtually any song on the planet can be accessed for free, especially on YouTube.

(25) And YouTube has basically everything: remixes, mash-ups, live versions, and derivative works that are generally not available on services like Spotify.  Which means, most fans end up on YouTube at some point or another.

(26) Another reason why people don’t pay is that the average consumer just isn’t that into music, at least not to the extent that streaming music services imagined.

(27) All of which leaves advertising, which pays a tiny fraction of subscription and doesn’t support any streaming business models.


(28) There are too many streaming services competing for too few dollars.

That includes Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, Rhapsody, Beats Music, Grooveshark, VEVO, YouTube, Google Play Music All Access, and a bunch of other ones you’ve never heard of.

(29) Which means your ‘secure’ collection in the cloud could get wiped out overnight.

(30) It also leads to predatory licensing by major labels, which almost ensures failure and limited competition.


(31) Very few streaming services (subscription or otherwise) actually make money.

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(32) It’s entirely unclear if streaming services will ever make money, especially sustainable profits over a longer period of time.

(33) Part of the reason for this is licensing costs, which remain expensive and unpredictable.  Which means the more money Spotify makes, the more they will have to pay labels and publishers.

(34) And if the major labels don’t like your streaming service, they’ll sue the crap out of it.

(35) Which means that Spotify’s stakeholders are mostly focused on things that don’t involve actual profitability, including (a) a Wall Street initial public offering (IPO); (b) an acquisition, and (c) really nice salaries.

(36) Which is ironically part of the reason why Spotify is viewed so poorly on Wall Street.


(37) The streaming music micro-industry is probably a bubble.

(38) Many of the most successful services (Pandora, Spotify, and Deezer) are actively delaying profitability in the name of hyper-growth.  Which is an extremely speculative gamble.

(39) Both Deezer and Spotify have hundreds of millions in investment, and neither has displayed anything close to profitability.

(40) The broader economy could be an even bigger bubble, which means that giant bubble over there could kill the streaming bubble overnight.

(41) All of which brings up a growing problem for the music industry: some of the hottest companies – which include streaming services – are oftentimes short-term flips designed to get investors rich in the shortest amount of time possible.  Not longer-term plays that will benefit artists, fans, or (non-major label) rights owners very much.


(42) Streaming kills downloads, which make more money for artists.

(43) Spotify claims that streaming doesn’t hurt download sales and can actually increase them, though research now shows that this is untrue.

(44) Spotify also claims that artists will make more money over time from streaming than downloads, which has largely been disproven by math.

(45) And so do sales: in 2013, download single sales declined for the first time ever, and have never recovered since.


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(46) For this reason, major artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, Black Keys, and Coldplay window their releases and make Spotify and other streaming services wait.

(47) But windowing doesn’t affect pirate platforms like BitTorrent, which typically gets leaked copies.

(48) In fact, recent research now suggests that streaming is causing the marked declines in piracy once thought.

(49) It also doesn’t affect YouTube, which typically receives unauthorized uploads that the copyright owner must then police.

(50) Adding to the resistance, streaming platforms like Spotify do not allow artists to selectively license their music to premium, paying subscribers (thereby enjoying a better per-stream rate).


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(51) Given the myriad of problems associated with streaming services, superstar artists are signing massive, mega-million exclusives to major corporations (U2+Apple, Jay-Z+Samsung).

Which means if you’re not on iCloud, Samsung, or whatever else it happens to be, you’re not getting access to it.


(52) Artists and copyright owners typically have little-to-no control over their content on YouTube, easily the largest streaming music platform.

(53) Which means that labels, publishers, and artists must devote endless resources to ripping down their music, instead of making great music.

(54) Or, accepting extremely low payments from their claimed channels.

(55) In the case of an unclaimed channel, the rights owner receives nothing and can’t be paid retroactively.  Even if there were ads and revenues being earned by YouTube.

(56) Which sucks because, a lot of legacy artists previously had no idea that their music was being played millions of times on YouTube, and therefore never claimed their channels.

(57) And, it’s up to the rights owner to police their content and set up channels, not YouTube (which of course works out great for YouTube).

(58) But even with channels properly set up, rights owners typically have no idea what they should be getting paid.

(59) And the reason?  YouTube is completely non-transparent and deliberately confusing!


(60) All of which translates into extremely low payouts from YouTube, little explanation into why these payouts are so low, and little-to-no control by rights owners over whether their music appears on the platform.


(61) Don’t like that?  Then start issuing hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of DMCA notices to Google and YouTube.  It’s a great way to use your creative energies!


(62) Streaming services don’t contribute anything back to artists or the artist community.

(63) That doesn’t mean an artist like Lorde can’t break on platforms like Spotify, but it does mean they won’t be getting any support to make that happen.

(64) It also means that there’s far less money overall to develop artists, which means far fewer artists will have a chance at making it.


(65) User abandonment on streaming services is extremely high.

In a recent study, researcher Mark Mulligan found that more than 70 percent of registered user accounts on services like Spotify are completely abandoned.  Others like Deezer have incredibly similar problems.


(66) Grooveshark.


(67) Internet radio pays almost nothing to artists, and little to publishers.

(68) The biggest streaming radio service, Pandora, is currently at war with both artists and content owners.

(69) That opens all sorts of tricky situations ahead, including increases in rates or flat-out refusals to license to Pandora (on the recording or publishing sides, or both).

(70) It also threatens to dismantle long-running relationships between publishers (like Sony/ATV) and performance rights organizations (like ASCAP), which is currently the only way publishers can effectively strike direct, market-negotiated deals with Pandora and other streaming radio services.

(71) Meanwhile, labels and recording owners are unfairly receiving far greater royalties per internet radio stream, based on out-of-date statutory rate structures and government restrictions on publishers.

(72) In all of this, some of the largest songwriters in the world are receiving pennies for millions of plays.

(73) Pandora, despite these wretchedly-low payouts, argues that its publishing payouts are too high.  And, they’re suing performance rights organization ASCAP to lower the rate.

(74) Throughout all this, Pandora founder Tim Westergren has been misleading artists into thinking that lower rates will benefit them more.  Because it will grow Pandora, which means more exposure and opportunity for artists to make money (or something like that).

(75) Pandora pays artists extremely little, but Westergren and other top Pandora executives are often cashing out millions in Pandora shares — a month.

(76) Which of course raises questions as to whether Pandora executives believe in their own company.  Or, even internet radio itself as a sustainable business model.

(77) And, whether anyone besides about 10 people will be making any substantive earnings off of Pandora.  Which means, artists are essentially subsidizing the insanely wealthy, secure lifestyles of executives like Tim Westergren, not to mention an obsessive focus on hyper-growth over profitability.  All while being told they’re getting paid too much in royalties.


(78) SoundExchange is an inept company that routinely screws up artist royalties, screws up payouts, and hordes tons of unpaid royalties.

(79) Pandora pays recording royalties to SoundExchange, which distributes the money equally among label and artist.  The only problem is that SoundExchange does a poor job of distributing the money received, which means it’s generally holding on to hundreds of millions in unpaid royalties.

(80) Which means that capital that is sorely needed by services like Pandora is locked up in unpaid accounts, upon which SoundExchange (not Pandora) draws interest.

(81) In that environment, companies like Apple have negotiated direct licenses with major rights owners for radio products.  But this invites a number of new problems, including potentially lower per-stream payouts for content.

(82) Apple’s direct payment system also re-aggravates age-old issues with major labels.  The first of these problems is that major labels rarely pay their artists.  And when they do, it’s often suspect and incorrect.

(83) Which means that despite all of its accounting problems and massive unpaid royalties, SoundExchange is actually better for major label artists than a direct, Apple-negotiated deal.

(84) On top of all that, Apple’s direct negotiations with major labels also includes healthy advances.  Which, of course, are rarely distributed back to the content owners (ie artists, publishers, etc.) themselves.

(85) And when it comes to indies, Apple has shown little willingness to negotiate.  Instead, independent labels received pre-determined, non-negotiable, and markedly inferior terms to the major labels.

(86) Furthermore, indies have not been offered major label perks like healthy advances and shares of advertising revenue.

(87) Merlin, the organization charged with negotiating for the indie labels and fighting on their behalf, wasn’t even at the negotiation table for iTunes Radio.  Which means, Apple has been able to essentially negotiate whatever they want.


(88) When it comes to streaming services, indie labels generally get screwed.

(89) The latest example comes from YouTube, which recently forced a non-negotiable, highly-unfavorable contract upon independent labels for their upcoming, paid streaming service.

(90) If indies didn’t sign this contract, their content would removed from all parts of YouTube (paid and unpaid).

(91) But this sort of behavior isn’t unusual: when it comes to major streaming releases, companies typically arrange everything with the major labels and publishers first, then force unfavorable terms upon the hapless indies.


(92) The DMCA is a ineffective loophole that greatly benefits companies like YouTube and Grooveshark, absolutely screws artists and rights owners, and desperately needs to be reformed.

(93) In most cases, rights owners do not have the resources to issue takedown notices, and sites like YouTube refuse to block repeat offenders.

(94) Which leaves one practical choice for rights owners: permit the use of your content without your consent, accept the meager payouts from those uses (if available), and try to make money somewhere else.  The only problem with this?


(95) Streaming platforms can generate artist revenues in other areas, though it is unclear how much and how often.

(96) The early consensus is that artists popular on streaming platforms sometimes see elevated live concert audiences, though a large number of artists simply can’t make a living on the road.

(97) And, streaming doesn’t usually lead to more t-shirt sales.


(98) Most of the music on streaming platforms are never listened to.

A recent study showed that 4 million songs on Spotify had never been listened to… once.  


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(99) This is part of a much larger problem that accompanies massive musical selections and choice overload on streaming platforms.  According to a recent study recently conducted by the Echo Nest, nearly half of all songs are skipped before they are finished.

45 Responses

  1. DeezNizzuhh


    Non I need that meme “Not this shit again”

    Let the games begin!

  2. DeezNizzuhh

    12. Soundcloud

    Supply and demand. The industry cant expect to go back to the 90’s. Too much music competing for ears. Soundcloud is a great tool for promotion. It has certainly helped me out. If I can’t get on mainstream radio but can have a fanbase of millions on Soundcloud, what’s the difference? Soundcloud IS my radio station. A direct to fan radio station at that. I need the herd and Soundcloud has it so i can tap into that massive herd. If I WERE on radio, would I be getting paid anyway??

  3. TuneHunter

    We can convert streaming and radio to discovery based music stores.
    Actually all places that play any music will become music stores.

    Quality of music surrounding us in public places will drastically improve!

    Last, anyone can become music salesmen! Brilliant MIXTAPE? Send it wherever, commission stream will follow!

    • Anonymous

      What are you even talking about?

      Sounds like stone age prehistoric bullshit…

    • Anonymous

      Mixtapes are child’s game, kindergarten craft time shit, make fucking albums…

      • Nina Ulloa

        lol. i can name plenty of amazing, groundbreaking mixtapes and plenty of terrible albums that i wish i had never heard.

        • Anonymous

          Apologies on the spelling mistakes and grammar issues. My pedantry is stifled by the inability to edit posts…


        • Anonymous

          let me just say, if it were more of a Ted Nelson Xanadu type network setup, instead of this rape job fuck job thing right now, something where my contributions would result in some sort of micro-payment back, and where those owning it or investing in it dont get to use my property in any sense of the word without some sort of compensation back or fair tradeoff of some sort that ultimately leads to some kind of monetary benefit, if that were the case i would certainly be more heavily involved in that stuff.

          Since i do own a decent stack of copyrights/IP then it serves my interest to find a balance between my morals and values and my responsible real world self and for now that is pretty much right in the middle.

          Just so you know amongst my crazy smoke show where i might actually stand.

          • THE TUNE HUNTER

            Guys, I am impressed with so many comments!

            Anyone who has access to Larry Page? Pplease help!

            Page is a nice and decisive man who looks for moonshots. If he plays it right he can double his Google as a master executor of discovery based $100B music industry!

            There is no HOPE at RIAA, UMG, SONY, WARNER, APPLE or AMAZON. Bezos is actually only person who formally expressed to me no interest in DEAD music business!

          • Mike

            You got a filthy mouth, so much so your point gets lost. In the day before computers one had to learn an instrument, and you were either good at it or bad, you had to have some kind of artistic integrity – now grab a keyboard, steal some beats, grab your crotch and your off. Everybody’s a musician now , and if their music stinks to bad they’re going to crowd the air with it anyway. Put up a really badly designed website join all the sharks, Rebvernation, One-music , CD Baby and all the other pay as you go record labels, who have no A & R dept.

            The music today is expendable for the most part, and real musicians have given in the concept of fans and touring to make money and the music is free concept. Theres no nuance , now it’s ” let me stick it between your legs and feel your juice run down my leg, baby make me, beg, baby baby beg make me beg x 1000 times back to the first line then out…

  4. Anonymous

    Being an artist isnt making me Money, isn’t getting me laid and isn’t providing any sort of tangibel help towards anything…

    Those having success are ganged up, familied up or were born rich etc.

    Everyuone else is grinding just to not be living on the streets… Awesome!

    • Nina Ulloa

      there’s plenty of successful people who have none of that. comes down to talent, drive, strategy, and luck.

      • Anonymous

        Not seeing it anywhere much at all or could be our ideas of what’s successful in a music business sense are very different…

        I’m seeing a lot of pseudo success where artists and musos can claim success, glorifying it to their little band of followers, so they fake it to make it, but the reality is most are super grinding near zero…

        Oh hey I’ve got prime time Tele placements, I’m ballin superstar check me out aren’t I so special and successful?? One of a few thousand in the whole country of Canada to do so, and while extremely grateful and proud of them, the reality is its just a tiny piss in the wind…

        Ohhwee I’ve played arena gigs, aren’t I just like God almighty in how fucking special and successful i am?

        But when the statement comes in you have to be a super Dick ego centric asshole to fake it so bad and lie so much…

        Oh woohoo the article I wrote and sent in got ran, aren’t I so popular and successful…

        Anyways… for each their own.


          • Johnny Bashful

            They seemed to do pretty good for sure, topping the charts like that is pretty huge for sure. I remember it being a pretty huge thing for people int he indy and underground games, using the one sole story in the whole universe as reason to perpetuate their thing and beliefs and regime and etc. etc. etc. Like oh see how it is working, just pay me for my services and surely you will be just like Macklemore…. ugh…

            There are always success stories, absolutely, there is always some kind of hope somewhere for something, that i am pretty certain of…

            Overall though Its not inspirational or motivational or anything much at all, since i just dont know all the details that were involved and in a comparison its just totally different music, image and how they market and sell themselves really works to dupe people into just really loving them off like that, so well well done… But im pretty darn certain there was a lot more at play involving a lot of people, it just doesnt happen any other way, and i have fucking evidence and proof and experience of that, no diggity!!!!

            The road and path is different for everyone, i got myself into a really bad position and had no other choice but to just go all the way in on it and im in an even worse position now, so take what i say with a grain of salt. But i assure you pretty much any success story is wrought with a lot of very small fine text and backstories that make their success not how it is marketed… They take success stories and market them to people to keep the dream alive and then try and grease them for money never once telling people what they really need to do to achieve such heights… Its fucking evil if you ask me, but the wheels gotta keep turning and shit so it is what it is… At the end of the day we are all just pawns in someones elses game at some point, pawns that in the big scheme of things can be sacrificed for the greater good, the greater good of whoever is selling their thing as the greater good…

            I either have to sell out as some people consider it, or else do the full free epic pilgrimage grind just for the music man cause i just love it so much and whatever, forgoing the fucking reality of the real world where cost of living goes up. Not everyone is some 20 year old ready to toss 10 years of their life out the window if they swing and strike out. And theres just no in between with that industry.

            Well i aint rolling with anyone, i think everyone is fucking nutzoid and thats about that for me in the music biz.

            IF i can make something happen where i can stack a good chunk of money and wealth together, i will strongly consider putting on some tip top performances, but it will only happen how i want it to, the way i want it to, or it wont happen at all, and my way is going to take some money and people to have any chance at anything.

            The fucking freetard assholes who want free performances and just free everything saying getting any sort of compensation or funding or help is selling out and soul selling, well they can come knock on my real door in the flesh and i will kindly stomp their fucking face into the concrete… Let me know in advance and i can put up some grandstands and bring in some popcorn vendors and sell tickets and we can put on a show, just be mindful you will be the one getting your face mutilated by my fucking boot!!!

            Want me to strap up some boots??? show yourself so i can put these boots to work then!!! fucking assholes!!!



            – Johnny Bashful

          • Johnny Bashful

            Cause anyone that talks about selling their soul has no fucking clue about anything…

            They are likely paranoid delusional or schizo or something along those lines, totally clueless douchebags if you ask me…

            No clue what they are talking about, so anytime someone comes talking about selling souls and this and that, they are someone who is down a dangerous rabbit hole being led around by someone pretty evil or else have connected the wrong dots and are now out there preaching their beliefs to people who are often searching for something to grab onto…

            I will never say trust me, but strongly consider believing me when i tell you anyone ever talking of selling out or soul selling is someone that has no fucking clue about anything at all and those types are worthy of being avoided at all costs…

            Just my two cents, which now rounds down to $0, so there ya go, some free advice, advice thats worth its weight in gold…

            – Johnny Bashful

  5. Anonymous

    So the tech guys get all the money and since they’re the new rockstars, they get all the women as well…

    Bad time to be in music, great time to be making music, but bad time overall for it… Terrible shame.

  6. Sequenz_

    YouTube’s payouts are so low because they have special deals. They do not follow the regular 12% revenue share of other streaming services, YouTube’s revenue share is somewhere between 4% and 5% of all income.

  7. jw

    Well this is thought provoking, if nothing else.

    There’s definitely some issues with such a drastic format evolution, but this type of pessimistic coloring does no one any good. I see a few of these issues a little bit differently.

    1) Major label accounting can’t be trusted. Don’t sign a deal if you intend to live off of royalties. If you’re not happy with the advance & the potential boost the exposure is going to give your touring game, don’t sign the deal. Unless you have a lot of negotiating leverage, or until someone files a class action lawsuit, major label artists may never see a dime from streaming royalties (recouped or not) or upfront lump payouts to labels. This isn’t anything that any streaming service has any control over.

    2) The recorded music industry is still in the technological dark ages. It’s hard to tell if this is done to hide the shady accounting, or if the accounting is simply a result of disorganization & ineptitude. It’s probably a little bit of both. There’s no reason to believe that streaming services’ payout issues aren’t simply a result of pre-existing issues. Sure, streaming services are dragging the industry (kicking and screaming) into the modern age, & that’s going to cause problems, but it’s not as if the streaming companies can legally sidestep the middlemen. Someone needs to come in & automate SoundExchange’ & the PROs’ collection & payout processes. The PROs are all INCREDIBLY inefficient & uncomprehensive, & a lot (if not most) of what they do could be automated. I’m sure the streaming services are having a very difficult time interfacing with the ugly patchwork that is the recorded music industry.

    3) Streaming services’ biggest problem is that it spreads the payments so thin. The per-play payout model is completely different from the ownership/transaction model, & for payouts to individual artist to equal what those artists are receiving from the ownership model, the overall payout pie is going to have to increase proportionate to the new variety. That is to say, if a music fan is listening to 3x as many artists as a streaming user than he or she was as a downloader/cd purchaser, those artists are going to have to either take 1/3 of the total payout each, or the streaming service is going to have to increase the revenue generated by the plays 3x. (Keep in mind that the ownership model would be paying out 3/3 of the revenue to 1/3 of those artists, & 0/3 of the revenue to 2/3 of those artists.)

    4) Pandora is very generous to artists. Your shots are Pandora are off base. Do the math. The problem that the PROs have with Pandora is, again, the breadth of songwriters getting paid, not the payouts themselves. Their issue is, primarily, the democratization of radio, & the deconcentration of plays. If you really want to be a useful voice in this conversation, that is the story you should be telling.

    5) There being more music created than there is a demand for music is not Spotify’s fault. There’s a lot of really terrible music out there, & it SHOULDN’T be listened to. But that doesn’t mean Spotify shouldn’t offer it. That’s no different than iTunes. Or Amazon. Or whatever.

    6) Wall Street doesn’t know jack shit about Facebook. They didn’t know about technology in the late ’90s, & they still don’t know. And they still resent being made to look like fools during the dot com bubble, so they’re bearish on every digital IPO. I recall DMN piling on the Facebook bear parade when they launched their IPO, & they’re now at $75/share up from a sub $40 IPO. (That’s like a $60b market cap up to almost $200b.) The squeaky wheels on Wall Street don’t have any insight into whether or not Spotify will be profitable longterm, or how the stock will perform. For a good laugh, you should go back & look for articles from May 2012 when all of the “analysts” (see: bloggers & pundits) had sooooo many reasons for saying “FB will trade for $13.80” or “FB will trade for $7.50 per share AT BEST” & etc. Oh, & then the avalanche of “FB stock is tanking!!!!” & “FB is dead!!!” articles over the next couple of months. For the record, I was always bullish on Facebook, even through the slump, & called those people out for being full of shit at the time. The people who really make money on Wall Street, anyhow, are the ones going against the grain. Being able to see the long shot when everyone else is hating just to inflate their own egos.

    (Side note: Did you delete all of the DMN archives prior to 2013, Paul?)

    Furthermore, Spotify is 3 years launched in the U.S. iTunes music sales were losing steam in the U.S. long before Spotify launched, & had pretty much flatlined the year before. You could make the argument that discovery through free streaming reinvigorated iTunes sales, & that digital downloads would be in much worse shape right now if the trend towards 2010 had continued. (Of course, that’s only counter-speculation.)

    Also, ironically, when a windowing strategy includes something like an iTunes pre-sale stream, those are generally the actual audio files that end up on torrents.

    Would love to debate more of these, but 99 is a bit much.

    • jw

      Er. Make that “Wall Street doesn’t know jack shit about Spotify.”


    • FarePlay

      “The squeaky wheels on Wall Street don’t have any insight into whether or not Spotify will be profitable longterm, or how the stock will perform.”

      Spotify isn’t a concept. They’re a fully functioning, cash burning enterprise that is not showing a lot of promise in their ability to converrt free to paying subs. I would not characterize that as not having any insight.

      • jw

        >> Spotify isn’t a concept. They’re a fully functioning, cash burning enterprise
        >> that is not showing a lot of promise in their ability to converrt [sic] free to paying
        >> subs. I would not characterize that as not having any insight.

        Their success in Scandinavia proves the model. You’re not talking about Spotify’s model or their competency, you’re trying to predict consumer behavior. And you don’t have a great track record there.

          • jw

            Based on everything you’ve ever posted to DMN, basically.

            I mean… obviously. You’re totally anti-tech. Ideally you would like for things to be exactly like they were in the 1970s. But you’d settle for the 1990s. And it’s all well & good to WANT those things, but when you start predicting how tech companies will perform & what future consumer behavior will be THROUGH that lens, it becomes something sort of ridiculous. You’re just wishful thinking, & trying to pass it off as serious commentary because you view yourself as some sort of non-profit entity, & use the royal we or whatever.

            It’s kind of weird, dude.

          • FarePlay

            As I’ve stated before. I’m pro-artist, not anti-tech. And I’m not pro-artist meaning any shlub with a computer and samples is a musician, I’m a let’s maintain an economic floor where talented songwriters and musicians can earn a living wage and have the possibility to devote the time to become great.

          • jw

            You can state whatever you want. Doesn’t change the fact that you’re anti-tech.

    • Jonahbca

      Please consider writing a full length article. You have too many good points to be relegated to a comment. Do you have a blog or twitter feed?

  8. derby

    I absolutely agree there are many (negative/problematic) issues surrounding streaming music services, but speaking simply as a consumer of music – I love Spotify. The access is addictive – and much of what I listen to on an ordinary day I already own (CD, digital).

    But the ability to seek out music from a new artist I just read about online, or check out albums from bands that go back decades who I never experienced before, is wonderful. It’s immediate. it makes me excited about music.

    Yes, I sample the tunes on iTunes and decide if I want to ‘own’ this or that song (and I buy plenty), but I can really experience a wide variety of music, quickly, when I search around Spotify – or whichever other service I have tried in the past.

    I nodded my head in agreement to almost all the above list of ‘problems’, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t appreciative to have the opportunity to access so much music in one place.

  9. Jason

    I was thinking a good streaming service could use a pay system based on who I listen to. Say I pay the service $10 per month. The streaming service would take half that for themselves for providing the service, then the other 5 bucks would be distributed to the artists and/or labels based on who I listened to that month. If I only listened to one band that month, then that band gets the $5. If I listened to 2 artists equally that month, then each artist would get $2.50. And so on. Lets say on average a subscriber listens to songs from 20 different bands in a month. Then that’s $0.25 that bands are receiving from each listener every month which would seriously add up if the service had thousands of subscribers, or hundreds of thousands. And its way more than artists are making now from Spotify.

  10. There is something...

    The only problem for me is no7, and I don’t think the streaming services are to blame here. Solve no7 and you’ll solve most of the streaming issues imho.

  11. Anonymous

    I am glad Sound Exchange is on the list. You hear these motivationally-toned stories of Joe Blow in Georgia getting some big check. I *know* they owe me a good chunk of change and have yet to pay a dime.

  12. dude

    >(19) This hostility is evident in lots of lying

    The streaming services are certainly no more guilty of misleading people than you are dude… most of this list is either you blaming streaming services for stuff thats 100% not their fault or your negative opinions about things that aren’t necessarily bad

  13. Willis

    Not reading this article – too long and purely opinion (as well as rehash of things from the last decade). What, exactly is the point?

  14. Ravini

    Don’t get the negatives on Soundcloud (or at least what Soundcloud is now). The ability for an artist to post ad-free (for now), easily embedded and secure streams of their music seems like a good thing to me. And it’s free up to a certain level of usage. I just wish their player wasn’t so bulky/ugly.

    • Johnny Bashful

      its all good, so long as the creator can leverage their rights for money before posting everything for free everywhere…

      money first….

      – Johnny Bashful

  15. Jared Worth

    (99) This is part of a much larger problem that accompanies massive musical selections and choice overload on streaming platforms. According to a recent study recently conducted by the Echo Nest, nearly half of all songs are skipped before they are finished.

    This is what I think is a wonderful thing about streaming. It forces artists to make repeatable music. Music that will stand the test of time. Slow and steady can prevail in royalties as well.

    P.S. (48) In fact, recent research now suggests that streaming is causing the marked declines in piracy once thought.

    How is that a problem?

    • Johnny Bashful

      Hmmm, perhaps…

      The stats ive seen are pretty staggering in regards to peoples attention span. It looks like the long tail graph, and its not supportive of people actually listening or caring about music, its after like 5 seconds most songs are skipped or something, frightening…

      I think it provides the perception that artists need to leverage for money as much as possible because no matter what people just arent listening anyways, so im not so certain it actually forces artists to make music that is repeatable, which is what they should be doing anyways, i think it does do the opposite to what you suggest, just make whatever some corporation or whoever is going to pay money for one way or another…


      – Johnny Bashful

  16. Name2

    Re: #99

    People deciding a song sucks: something that never happened before streaming.

    • Name2

      So a customer hearing the music before they pay for it is a “problem”.

      Must explain how those listening booths in the 50s and early 60s “killed music”.

  17. mojo_bone

    And do you know why/i> so many Spotify users use the “skip” button? It prevents ads from playing, as does starting a new song before the first finishes playing. Terrestrial radio has an answer for home tapers; they simply talk or play ads over the heads and tails of the music tracks and crossfade songs together seamlessly where no ad is inserted. It’s a simple matter for even amateur DJs to create a streaming-sevice playlist, record it to any handy digital device and completely remove the ads for later enjoyment/profit.

  18. Richard Shulman

    Interesting enough, as an independent artist and label owner I have been receiving much better royalties from SoundExchange than from BMI, and the lion’s share of my SoundExchange royalties comes from Pandora! I do have my complaints with Pandora in that they have accepted and play a lot of my meditative solo piano albums but haven’t accepted some of my jazz nor my latest album which has been playing in the top 10 of Music Direct’s Soundscapes for almost a year. So between playing, teaching, CD sales and royalties from Soundscape and BMI plus royalties from CD Baby and (for older albums) The Orchard it all adds up to enough to get by….