The 13 Most Insidious, Pervasive Lies About Streaming Music

There’s plenty of misinformation floating around about streaming music these days.  We thought we’d clear some of it up.

1. Streaming music is all about exposure.

Streaming can be great for exposure, but for most artists, it’s not.  Because without serious promotion and marketing, most stuff on platforms like Spotify stay buried.

The real reason to be on a streaming music platform is not to be invisible; it keeps the connection going for fans that are looking for an artist because of something they saw outside of streaming.  And, if you’re lucky, it can convert a fan into paying a concert attendee, vinyl or merch buyer.

2. Windowing is bad for your fans.

Spotify says windowing is bad for fans, but it’s mainly bad for Spotify.

Windowing refers to the practice of delaying the release of an album or song, and restricting access to better-paying platforms first.  Every artist and every release is different, but prioritizing higher-paying platforms often makes good business sense.  Formats like vinyl and iTunes downloading simply pay better, pound for pound, and core fans will purchase them (along with cassettes, merchandise, and other higher-revenue items).

That’s been the experience of Bandcamp, which prioritizes those formats and has been experiencing increases among those ‘traditional’ sales.

Streaming music typically comes last in the sequence, simply because it pays the worst (by far).  And if your fans can’t understand that, they’re really not your best fans.

3. Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, or other streaming music services are helping artists out.

Streaming platforms aren’t philanthropic organizations.  Instead, they are self-interested businesses focused on maximizing their own success (not yours).

That’s capitalism, but the reason why artists have such a problem with streaming platforms is that most of the benefits are going to a tiny group.  That includes the three major labels, who receive giant upfront cash advances and premium advertising slots; and Wall Street partners like Goldman Sachs, who are already minting millions structuring loans and positioning a public offering for Spotify.  Others, including Spotify employees and executives, are making handsome salaries.

The one exception to this rule might end up being Tidal, a company that insists on making people pay, thereby driving up royalty payouts.

4. Playlists will make you famous.

Playlists can give an artist a serious boost, but getting on a plum playlist is extremely difficult.  In fact, major labels are increasingly controlling what is included on top playlists via playlist payola.  But even getting onto a killer playlist doesn’t guarantee success: according to one marketing expert speaking recently at Canadian Music Week, artists that find themselves on big playlists sometimes don’t get the pickup or interest they expected, despite being played millions of times.

5. Playlists will make you wealthy.

Getting on playlists is a big deal, but it typically doesn’t lead to a big payout.  Nashville singer-songwriter Perrin Lamb got 10 million plays and $40,000; another band got one million streams and less than $5,000.  That’s not zero, but the far bigger value comes from other, higher-paying platforms, including live concerts and vinyl.

6. ‘Streaming Is the Future’

On-demand, streaming media is rapidly becoming the method du jour for music fans.  But the future is probably more complicated.  The reason is that two of the largest players in streaming music are catastrophic financial disasters, and their long-term future is anything but guaranteed.  Spotify is losing hundreds of millions and carries more then $2.5 billion in financing and debt; SoundCloud is losing heavy tens of millions according to their latest financial reports.

These aren’t home runs.  And Wall Street remains a speculative bet.  So yeah, streaming is the future.  But it’s probably a little different from what we’re imagining, with fewer horses running the race.

7. People will ultimately pay for streaming.

Currently, there are approximately 50 million paying subscribers to on-demand streaming platforms.  But there are hundreds of millions of listeners paying nothing beyond their mobile or broadband bill.  And assumptions that paying subscribers will reach 100 million, 200 million, or 1 billion are completely speculative.

Maybe they just want it for free, or not at all.  We don’t really know at this stage.

8. Streaming killed piracy.

Free streaming put a serious dent in piracy, especially torrenting.  But it didn’t kill it.  Part of the problem is that the number of broadband-connected users keeps increasing worldwide, and that means more people hitting torrenting platforms.  But fans have routinely shown that they are more-than-willing to pirate and torrent if the content they want isn’t readily available via free streaming.

9. Artists exclusives are in any way good for the music industry.

Mega-artists like Drake, Beyonce, and Kanye West are making tens of millions off of streaming exclusives.  But those specific artists are the only people benefitting from those deals, and the fans that happen to be subscribed to the platform with the exclusive.  Everyone else is out in the cold, forced to wait or pushed back towards piracy (see #8).

But even worse, exclusives like these actively punish fans that have made a decision to pay for streaming music, and discourages them from paying in the future.  It’s bad for the long-term health of the music business.

10. YouTube is in any way beneficial to artists or the music industry.

YouTube is great for two groups: (a) fans, who get everything for free; and (b) YouTube, who makes millions.  Everyone else is getting left out, simply because YouTube’s royalty rates are so incredibly low, it’s almost not worth tracking.  Channel monetizations are a joke, and artists are really only on the platform because they have to be (see #1).

11. You’re getting all of your streaming royalties.

Lady Gaga’s ex-manager Troy Carter flat-out admitted that major labels never paid his artists a dime from streaming.  But even artists outside of the major label system are probably missing something, either from incorrect metadata, a lack of knowledge over where to collect streaming revenues (from all sources), or what certain royalties like ‘mechanicals’ actually are.

12. Apple Music can somehow coexist with iTunes Music Downloads.

It’s oil-and-water; it will separate eventually.  Already, iTunes users are complaining that the two formats are fighting within the same app, that downloads are getting mangled.  And download exclusives make no sense for streaming subscribers.  Eventually, streaming will become so large, and downloads so small, that having them side-by-side will seem ridiculous.

13. All streaming platforms pay the same.

They definitely don’t.  There are extreme differences in what streaming services pay, and artists that know the difference are making more money.  Tidal and Microsoft’s Groove are paying multiples over what Spotify and YouTube are paying,  Getting on a featured Groove playlist is simply worth a lot more.


Image by Will Temple (CC by 2.0).


60 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I’m not sure about #9 yet. The royalty rate for each play during a given month is generally a percentage of that service’s subscription revenue divided by the total number of plays. Artist exclusives do bring in more subscribers to that particular service, which increases the revenue pool and the per-play rate for everyone, including the lesser known artists. On the other hand, with more people listening, the number of total plays increases. So that could go either way.

    I like to compare music streaming to video streaming, since video streaming seems to be working a bit better (windowing works folks!). Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu all have exclusives, and they all seem to be doing just fine.

    All the other points are spot on.

  2. Versus

    “10. YouTube is in any way beneficial to artists or the music industry.”

    So why can’t it just be completely shut down? It’s just a massive piracy channel.

    • Anonymous

      “why can’t it [YouTube] just be completely shut down?”

      I used to love the site, but I have to say I’m warming up to that idea.

      And YouTube just keeps lying, non-stop — I mean, literally:

      Today, in the Guardian, they repeat their undocumented claim that they’ve paid $3 bn to the industry, while the facts show that YouTube and all the similar services paid less than £25m, all in all, in 2015. Which means it would’ve taken YouTube decades to reach those imaginary $3bn.

      And YouTube also repeated its other totally undocumented claim that 80% of music listeners historically never paid for music — completely ignoring the fact that everybody used to own turntables not so long ago.

      What did people use these funny machines for? Decoration? Or is YouTube really suggesting that 80% of the population used to steal their vinyl records?

      • Anonymous

        “Today, in the Guardian, they repeat their undocumented claim that they’ve paid $3 bn to the industry, while the facts show that YouTube and all the similar services paid less than £25m, all in all, in 2015. Which means it would’ve taken YouTube decades to reach those imaginary $3bn.

        …it would actually take around 100 years, given the current rate, haha.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it’s practical or feasible to shut it down completely. Instead, copyright owners should have complete control over if and how their content is made available on YouTube. Adding Staydown to the DMCA will force YouTube to use ContentID to keep unapproved content off the site. Their argument that Staydown won’t work is a complete lie. Once that happens, copyright owners can use YouTube as a true promotional device to drive consumers to the paid services. It will also allow Spotify to drop or severely limit their free offering.

      • Anonymous

        “I don’t think it’s practical or feasible to shut it down completely.”

        That’s what everybody said about Grooveshark and MegaUpload. Literally…

        “Adding Staydown to the DMCA will force YouTube to use ContentID to keep unapproved content off the site.”

        We could work with that — IF ContentID were available to everybody.

        But it isn’t. Not even close.

        • Anonymous

          Grooveshark and Megaupload weren’t owned by Google. Plus, user generated content still has some value, as long as it isn’t infringing. While ContentID may not be universally available, the tech behind it has been available for years. Others are certainly capable of using something similar, if not ContentID itself.

          • Anonymous

            “While ContentID may not be universally available, the tech behind it has been available for years”

            And yet, we have to hire companies to send takedowns 24/7 because it’s just not available in the real world.

            This is the part I don’t understand:

            Why is it my responsibility to remove the same illegally uploaded songs from YouTube again and again and again?

            It doesn’t make sense.

  3. HeyHey

    (In before the Remi bot comes in )

    A pessimistic but realistic view of the situation.
    So, we’re (artists) doomed. What to do ?

    • Anonymous

      “(In before the Remi bot comes in )”


      “So, we’re (artists) doomed. What to do ?”

      Perhaps Tidal?

    • The Dude

      The ‘pessimistic but realistic’ view of the situation is that the recorded music industry died with Napster and the past 15+ years have been an orchestrated facade by the major labels to maintain appearances while they grab as much revenue through upfront advances from streaming services for their catalogs and stakes in companies like Spotify as they prepare to go public. The “music industry” as it exists now is as two-faced as it has ever been. The labels are just hoping to make so much money at an IPO that they can make up for the years of revenue they lost and feel entitled to. The longevity of the music industry has never been the concern of the record labels. We’ve seen it time and time again with CDs, then DRM MP3s, and so on.

      However, recorded music still has an inherent value to fans and to the culture. I’d hate to live in a world where albums are no longer made and where new artists aren’t given the chance to create and spread their music and message to as large an audience as possible. The most practical thing any young artist can do (being a young artist myself) at this stage in the game is to try and learn how to do as many things yourself. Whether that’s learning multiple instruments, learning how to engineer and mix, learning how to shoot and edit music videos, and so on. It’s important to keep things economical both in the studio and on the road. That probably means playing with a smaller band and not bringing your half stack on the road. Just look at the EDM scene – a dude with a laptop and a table, and maybe some lights. Compare that to the insane overhead any touring rock band or artist in a band set-up has. It’s not sustainable when records don’t sell and you don’t have a label that is willing to give you tour support.

      The best solution at this point in terms of making money from recorded music is to use a platform like Pledge Music or Kickstarter and to sell the music (and other related items) upfront, because that’s likely the only way the majority of artists (i.e. not on major labels or already established) are going to see any money from their recordings.

      If you can survive long enough to get a larger fanbase, you can of course begin to introduce new products like vinyl, more merch, and expect larger pre-orders for your records. The key (and the struggle) is just being able to survive to that point.

      My 2 cents, as a 22 year old rock artist.

  4. Anonymous

    “The one exception to this rule might end up being Tidal”

    Yes, perhaps it deserves a closer look. It pays better, sounds better, it’s not hostile, there’s video…

  5. Jason Stallworth

    Man this is quite depressing, especially for extremely small time solo artists like myself (I specialize in instrumental metal). That being said, can you offer some alternatives for artists to generate revenue? I know merchandise is one stream but there’s a bit of cost with that as well, so the profit margin isn’t very high. Perhaps getting music into movies, TV, games? I am looking at creating some other related digital products such as eBooks (I do this for another venture, a workout site I have). Any other suggestions out there?

  6. Lest it be forgotten...

    No. 11 “Lady Gaga’s ex-manager Troy Carter flat-out admitted that major labels never paid his artists a dime from streaming.”

    I think you have attached the wrong link. You were referring to the Lady Gaga contract which showed that the 3.2 billion USD sale of Beats 1 to Apple enriched the major labels exclusively, and that the artist Lady Gaga, and management Lovechild, LLC, were not entitled to “other monies” pursuant to a clause contained in that contract, i.e., with regard to her label licensing a significant portion of her label’s music catalog. I think the Universal Music Group profited approximately $400,000,000 USD from that sale. Is that what you meant to link to?

      • Lest it be forgotten...

        Hey, no problem. I’ve read through the above posted links and though it may seem to be a bit off-topic, I thought it a very cogent point. For ease of reference, I’ve quoted it below as I thought it would add value to your discussion (in particular, “6. ‘Streaming Is the Future’:

        1. Label negotiates up front deals with their artists that have zero backend on streaming for the artist. Pays them lump sum.

        2. Label licenses content to streamer for very low per-stream rates (or zero cost per stream) and a sizeable chunk of equity (since label doesn’t have a variable cost going out to the artist).

        3. Streamer goes public and label keeps all the dough from the equity sale.

        4. Now that streamer is public, a new licensing deal is cut that costs streamer dearly and begins to flow the newly raised public capital back out from the streamer to labels.

        = people who bought streamers stock on public market get screwed, labels get rich, streamer founders and investors get rich, artists outcome depends on the deal they did up front with label, and streaming company struggles or goes under now that their costs go through the roof after going public.

        Does that about sum it up?”

        Comment of “YA: How Streaming Services are Screwing Lady Gaga (and every other artist),” June 10, 2014

        Viewing the above in a private situation, it might provide an understanding as to why Sitar Teli: Managing Partner, Connect Ventures (UK) indicated at the MIdem Conference,2016, regarding VC’s that “…there’s only so long they’re going to fund a loss making business also, right?” [32:47-32:50]

        YouTube: Startups & Corporations: from Competition to Coopetition – Midem 2016:

        See also, for example, 04:28-06:16; 32:15-34:05; and, 55:02-57:04.

        Furthermore, in the quoted comment above, the emphasis was on the artist/label relationship (there is a flip-side to that coin), but there is also a concern for the public that should be taken into account.

  7. Paul Lanning

    YouTube enables piracy every time a song is played. One small benefit though, is that cell phone video of live gigs drive concert attendance for developing and mid-level acts.

    • Anonymous

      “One small benefit though, is that cell phone video of live gigs drive concert attendance”

      Yeah, that’s really cool for songwriters.

  8. Anonymous

    youtube is owned by one of the most powerful companies in the world and is beloved by 99% of the population. It isn’t going to be shut down.

    • Anonymous

      “beloved by 99% of the population”

      Oh, really?

      Please provide documentation. If you can’t do that, we’ll have to conclude it’s just another Google lie. Like ‘ContentID’. Or the ‘$3bn’ they paid to the industry. Or the constantly repeated lie that 80% of the population ‘historically’ never paid for music.

      Pirates also really, really loved Grooveshark and MegaUpload, you know.

      • Nicole

        I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the vast majority of people out there on the internet enjoy youtube.

        • Anonymous

          Far more than 1% work in music, TV and movies.

          And if you do that, you definitely don’t ‘enjoy’ YouTube…

  9. MarkH

    “But even worse, exclusives like these actively punish fans that have made a decision to pay for streaming music, and discourages them from paying in the future. It’s bad for the long-term health of the music business.”

    How is this any different, practically, than windowing? If I’m a Spotify sub and something is exclusive to Tidal, I still have to wait for it to hit Spotify ( just like if it was windowed).

    Yet you say windowing is good and exclusives are bad? Why isn’t windowing “punishing fans that have made a decision top pay for streaming music?”

    • Me2

      To me the whole “punishing fans” narrative is ridiculous. Like the restaurant that has Pepsi, but not Coke. Or Heinz but not Hunt’s, Tobasco, but not Crystal. Yep, they’re punishing the customers, that must be it. What a joke.

  10. Truth

    Doesn’t any one find it mildly funny that music videos were paid for with big recoupable budgets and earned $0 for the artist directly until YouTube made it so. They created an entirely new revenue stream for the music industry but today they’re just lumped in with a bunch of other (but different) services.

    • Me2

      Not sure where you’re getting your facts from. BMI and ASCAP collect licensing fees from TV networks such as MTV and distribute to writers who were very often also the artist in the heyday of the music video.

      And YT invented running ads against video? How is that a whole new revenue stream? Sounds like all they did was the same thing online, except those songwriters aren’t getting proportionately paid for a hit these days.

      • Me2

        aah right … you said “directly” guess everything is peachy then.

        Anyone here tried getting ContentID “directly”?

      • Me2

        Or how about any response from the awesome YouTube team… “directly”?

  11. Truth

    Doesn’t any one find it mildly funny that music videos were paid for with big recoupable budgets and earned $0 for the artist directly until YouTube made it so videos earned money. They created an entirely new revenue stream for the music industry but today they’re just lumped in with a bunch of other (but different) services.

    15 years ago an artist couldn’t afford to have their own music video much less find a way to get it seen (MTV, BET). Today their entire career can be launched from this platform.

    I’m not saying what they do concerning “illegal” uploading is right or wrong, but the facts say there really was something impressive and genuinely helpful to the independent artist here.

      • Truth

        Well essentially the uploads aren’t illegal, because Google is following the law.

        • Anonymous

          I can assure you they’re illegal, dude.

          Millions and millions of them…

          • It goes deeper...

            Interesting point … New York Times Co. v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483 (2001).

            Imagine that a single from an album is likened to a single news clip from a full page of a newspaper … now, ask yourself again, who is doing the uploading … context, context, context.

        • Anonymous

          … however, you don’t sound like the typical pirate, so this is kind of interesting (though in a pretty scary way):

          Are you actually not aware that unauthorized upload of copyrighted content is illegal?

          • Truth

            Its illegal on the part of the uploader for sure. But not illegal on the part of Google if Google is following the law by waiting for a take down notice and then taking it down. Hence the quotes.

          • Anonymous

            “Its illegal on the part of the uploader for sure”

            Yes, the uploads in question are indeed 100% illegal!

            Just like rape is 100% illegal. And theft is 100% illegal.

            No need for quotes.

      • Me2

        “Its illegal on the part of the uploader for sure. But not illegal on the part of Google if Google is following the law by waiting for a take down notice and then taking it down. Hence the quotes.”

        Sure, until the the DMCA 512 loophole they’ve been abusing for years is closed.

        • Troglite

          Let’s not forget that YT had a significant role in creating that loophole in the first place.

          • Truth

            YouTube didn’t come into existence until 7 years after the DMCA and the safe harbor rules were created. They had nothing to do with it at all. And before you say Google did and Google owns YouTube, wrong again. Google’s homepage still said Beta in 1998, they didn’t have the funds or influence for lobbying yet. Do a little research and don’t depend on DMN for your education and opinion on important topics.

          • Troglite

            Thanks for the historical clarification. (Sincerely).

            I was thinking of Google. And yes, your literal interpretation of my post would still be factually wrong. Its my fault for being sloppy with my language. But… its just a comment on DMN right??

            Back in the day, I actually worked with the folks over at Dogpile. I have to admit that i’ve always been terrible eith dates and ages. Thanks again for the trip down memory lane. (Again, sincerely).

            But I suspect you know that I was referring to the heavy lobbying efforts that have occurred since the original law was passed. No one who authored or voted for the original bill foresaw the abuse that would eventually occur by these parties (and others). Isn’t that the nature of a loop hole? The original intent is later perverted.

          • lolr

            youtube did not exist until 2005 you compulsive lying industry bitch.

          • Troglite

            I never intended to refer to the original authoring or passage of the legislation. The loophole only manifested itself years later after parties like YT found that they could technically comply with the letter of the law while completely undermining the intention of that law. As I stated, the language in my original comment was sloppy and I take responsibility for that.

            The name calling really advances your arguments. Keep it up! But, next time please remember to call me an old man, too!

        • Brainstorming...

          I am not so sure that your comment that: “It’s illegal on the part of the uploader for sure” is as simple as you make it out to be.

          Generally speaking, as opposed to a user uploading a digital copy of a certain track to, let’s say, the Pirate Bay (where it is simply audio playback), when a user of, let’s say, Youtube, uploads a “certain track” to YouTube, they do so with added value, i.e., a video; hence, the expression: “music video.”

          A “certain track” will affect the listener/viewer in different ways based on the content of the video. Based on the content of the added video, which could be expressed in a myriad of different ways, each listener/viewer of a “certain track” will have a different experience wouldn’t they?

          Based on the content of the added video, which could be expressed in a myriad of different ways, when a user simultaneously watches and listens to that content, the added video would add further meaning, or even change the original meaning of the “certain track.”

          Is a “certain track” when combined with a video a duplicate copy of the certain track, or is it something else … something more?

          If it is something else … something more (e.g., a combination of sight and sound), it follows that consideration of that fair use possibility must be undertaken before a valid DMCA notice can be sent, which, obviously can’t be done by an automated DMCA notice system, or “bot.”

          Most, if not all of the discussion and reports I have read thus far regarding DMCA notifications, always focus solely on the certain track, but in instances where there is added content, e.g., a video, the “certain track” is inextricable intertwined with the video.

          Again, this situation is distinguishable from the situation of simply uploading a duplicate of a certain track, audio only.

          This will require further thought, just brainstorming atm.

          • Brainstorming...

            Having thought this through a bit longer, again, generally speaking, if one were to purchase a certain track digital download from, let’s say, iTunes and independently incorporate (“drop”) that digital download straight into a video, in such circumstances, it seems that not only would that creator not be creating a duplicate copy, but rather something else … something more. If the music video were then uploaded to, let’s say, YouTube, would the uploading of that music video, in those circumstances, be an illegal upload?

            Upon “dropping” the certain track digital download into the video, the certain track digital download would thereby become a music video, i.e., inextricably intertwined, before it could become a copy – the transformation would be instantaneous.

            In those circumstances, if the upload is not illegal, then it seems to follow that, let’s say, a YouTube creator could monetize their music video. Indeed, I believe that the Constitution, the Copyright Act, as well as Supreme Court decisions say so.

            In those circumstances, a music video creator would have had no need to access the underlying written musical composition and lyrics, such as the printed sheet music and lyrics, as that underlying written musical composition and lyrics would have been one step removed as the purchased certain track digital download would have been transformed during the recording process in the studio (but even if it had not been transformed in the recording studio, it is nevertheless, one step removed).

            Indeed, the record label for example would have previously uploaded (published) the certain track digital copy to iTunes (nothing private about that), the creator of the music video simply purchased the certain track digital download and incorporated (“dropped”) that download straight into their music video.

            Assuming arguendo that the record label would then assert that the creation of the music video was not authorized (especially because the music video creator had monetized the music video(s)). Before addressing that assertion, let’s remove some fetters so that the issue can be examined more clearly. The record label, for example, in such circumstances could not assert that the independent creator of the music video was either a work-for-hire, or bound to the record label by contract which raises the question as to whether or not the record label (as well as the sheet music and lyrics publisher) could rightfully monetize the music video.

            Assuming arguendo that a record label would then claim that they are the creators (i.e., the rightsholder(s)) of that certain track digital download as they had previously bound the recording artists (such as sound engineers and recording artists) by either work-for-hire, contract or a combination of both (bearing in mind that the publisher of the sheet music and lyrics does not even come into this equation) and, therefore, the creator of the music video is violating their exclusive rights under the Copyright Act, the question that begs to be asked in such circumstances is: Where is the duplicate copy of the certain track digital download to be found in a music video? The certain track digital download is inextricably intertwined with the video content. There is no interference in such circumstances with the purported exclusive right (those arguments are beyond the scope of this particular discussion) of the record label to exploit the certain track digital download, vinyl and compact discs; they are still being exploited, they are still being sold. In a sense, the creator of the music video is exploiting their video content, the music video. It would be a different matter if, let’s say, a YouTube user were to make a duplicate copy of the record label’s music video and uploaded the same to YouTube (or even The Pirate Bay for that matter), or otherwise simply uploaded a certain track digital copy, audio only, to, let’s say, The Pirate Bay.

            I am neither a lawyer, nor do I purport to be, rather, I am just using a little common sense and raising these particular issues to help further your debate.

            A quick Google search for articles on the works of controversial artist Richard Prince will help further the points.

          • Troglite

            I think the core of what you’re exploring is what alterations do and do not represent a “transformation” from the original use. Anyone who claims to know that with absolute certainty should be calked into question. The federal judges and lawyers haven’t established a clear precedent in this regard, yet. Quite the opposite… we currently have a handful of conflicting precedents.

            But, i think the spirit of this aspect of fair use is grounded in the intended benefit/use. Just adding a picture or video doesn’t directly impact that. It depends on the nature of that added content. Video of a commencement speach with the song playing in the background would shift the use toward the contents of that speach. A video of the band or a theatrical demonstration of the song’s themes probably would not… the focus of the intended use would remain on experiencing the music.

  12. Truth

    There is a need, because as I said, “what THEY do concerning “illegal” uploading” is referring to Google. Who in fact is acting 100% legally under the law and therefore have no reason to treat any upload as illegal until contacted with a take down notice. So what GOOGLE is doing is not illegal, the law is clear. But you and I and many other people know that it sort of is. If I was writing about users who illegally upload I wouldn’t have used quotes since that’s a flat out illegal act.

    • Me2

      Sure, until the the DMCA 512 loophole Google/YT has been abusing for years is closed.

  13. Me2

    Need to school up on Moral Rights. Not so keen on the idea of my music being paired with illegal Fentanyl ads. Also not thrilled about the prospect of my name and likeness being used to push targeted campaigns to whoever.

    • Troglite

      Yes!!! Its not about squeezing another tenth of a penny out of each stream… its about restoring the ability to CONTROL how each individal work is used/monetized.

      • Lest it be overlooked...

        Yes!!! Well, generally speaking, the obvious first steps, if I have even been reasonably clear, is for creators to STOP signing away their musical compositions and lyrics to publishers for “50%” of the spoils, STOP signing away all of their rights, such as artistic control, licensing, performance, distribution, endorsement, merchandising, etc., in “360” deals, or otherwise, with the record labels for but a pittance of the spoils, and STOP signing away their distribution rights with “middle man” distribution rights companies and organizations like, well, you know. Then, and only then, will creators begin to regain “the ability to CONTROL how each individual work is used/monetized.”

        I would be remiss if I did not mention “exclusives,” in other words, STOP signing “transfer of copyright ownership” agreements.

        The Copyright Act defines (definitions section) such as follows:

        “A ‘transfer of copyright ownership” is an assignment, mortgage, EXCLUSIVE LICENSE, or any other conveyance, alienation, or hypothecation of a copyright or of any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright, whether or not it is limited in time or place of effect, BUT NOT INCLUDING A NON-EXCLUSIVE LICENSE. (Emphasis added).

        Remove those unnecessary intermediaries identified above from the streaming profit distribution equation, and I am most certain that creators will see an impressive increase in their monthly/quarterly earnings statements.

        Not to mention, but I do, as well as a significant increase in profits in other earning potentials, such as live performances, brand endorsements, merchandising, etc.

        There is a reason why Apple, Spotify and others are seeking “Artist Exclusives,” but as to those reasons, please draw your own conclusions.

        One quick thought: Regarding non-exclusive licensing, I have noticed that YouTube doesn’t require exclusive licensing, perhaps, that provides some insight as to the recent surge of hostility?

        • Lest it be overlooked...

          Oh ya, I should of also noted this in the paragraph above: In addition to not signing away all rights by way of contract, STOP creating work-for-hire projects for your employers.

          If you must sell or license, do so only after the work is done, otherwise, your publisher “becomes” the author, and the record label “becomes” the artist.

          On one hand, if a publisher wants to write a music composition and lyrics, let them write their own music composition and lyrics themselves; on the other hand, if a record label wants to record that music composition and lyrics, let them license the underlying composition and lyrics from the publisher who wrote their own music and lyrics, and get into the recording studio and lay down the track themselves.

          For example, imagine if Universal Music Publishing Group CEO Zach Horowitz wrote the music composition and lyrics, published them, and licensed that music composition and lyrics to Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange, who then stepped into the recording studio and laid down the tracks himself … sweet, sweet sweet music to my ears.

          Then Universal Music Group Lucien Grange could make the rounds with his product, and some manager, marketing firm, or combination of the two, can “doll” him up, perhaps, in some tight leather pants, wigs (use imagination here), in short, package him in a way that appeals to the consumer and, sell, sell, sell … I can just imagine the music video debut on VEVO now.

          As silly as the above illustration may appear, in a world where composers and songwriters, and recording artists refused to sign their rights over, by either contract or work-for-hire to, e.g., publishers and record labels, that, in essence, would be competition. Not that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  14. Joe Normal

    Is this really an article? Or is it a plug for Tidal and Groove?
    Either way, THIS is a plug for Joe Normal:

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Ha, well, no it’s not a plug for Tidal or Groove, we’ve just seen the numbers, and see artists gaming the system properly!

      As for your attempted plug, you’re gonna have to pay for that one.

  15. Josie

    10. YouTube is in any way beneficial to artists or the music industry

    I learnt about my now fav artist only thanks to YT. This mind blowing dude is a classical music performer. I have no interest in other genres which may sound the same wheather it’s YT or other sources. But for academic music the difference is huge and one must be deaf not to hear it. So now I buy CDS, DVDs, get digital concert hall tickets and try to attend live concerts although I have to go abroad for that. How would it have happened without YT?

  16. Sick of the misinformation

    This is clickbait. How are these “insidious, pervasive lies”? No one over the age of 10 would hold these naive beliefs in the first place. This is one big straw man argument, and the author ends up affirming several of the “lies” anyway.

  17. jason

    Musicians basically had to play live daily for thousands of years and rely on patronage to make their art until until the middle of the 1900s when a brief blip in time changed that.

    It sucks but that middle 1900’s blip was an anomaly. Every artist must now compete against the entire history of recorded music whenever someone changes a song.

    System isn’t working as is right not, but there is no going back to the freak accident that was the last 60 years.

    • Troglite

      Isn’t paying for what you consume just patronage passing through the lens of a specific technology? Seems like the concepts are quite consistent over time with technology being the factor driving changes to how these concepts are applied (and the degree to which they can mandated/enforced vs. Chosen/requested).