Music and Society

In this day and age digital platforms such as Spotify and YouTube are taking over the music industry, which means that artists are not making as much profit as they have done in over 10 years. I believe that this has a positive and negative effect on the


Industry, artists and up and coming artists. the one platform I think that promotes this the most is the well-known Spotify which billions of people use every day.

The aspect of the industry we can see losing out on money most is CD and Record/LP sales because using an app to download “free” music with the technology we have nowadays it proves to be ten times easier. Its plain to see that sales in pysical music has dropped dramatically in the last ten years because near enough everyone has a mobile phone or a device in which they can download or stream any song they want in the touch of a button. you can pay a standard monthly amount of £9.99 or £4.99 for a student and you have over 30m song right in your hand, this means that artists such as Drake can get streams by the billions. Last year Drake’s s music streamed over 4.1bn times and every hour his songs are streamed over 500,000 times on Spotify alone.

Because of the growth in Spotify and Apple music, music streaming has passed over 100m paying subscribers which was something that never seamed possible some years ago.

Universal music couldn’t be happier with these soaring numbers because they are the label that distributes Drake’s music and collects royalties from Spotify each time someone streams one of his songs. it’s artist like Drake who helped build universals profitability last year,  earning the company £1.1bn in streaming revenues in the first nine months of the year which is enough to make up for the fall in CD sales and digital downloads.

Some artists have been reluctant to join the streaming crusade, one artist in particular Taylor Swift, who pulled all her songs from Spotify in November 2014, later explaining she was “not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment”. Her work has just recently returned to Spotify this year the same day that Katy Perry released her new album which seems to have caused a conflict because they dislike each other.

This graph above shows how many streams in america it takes on each platform to make a $1 as you can see its a lot easier to make money when people are subscribed to the platform.

Despite the impressive numbers, there is still tension between the biggest music labels and the technology groups that pipe millions of songs into screens and devices each year. The music groups hold the leverage. The source of their power is found in places like the studios at Universal Music’s offices in places such as Manhattan, where master recordings are copied and then filtered into mobile phones, shopping malls and living rooms. Through ownership of the rights to these master recordings, Universal, Warner Music and Sony together control 80 per cent of all recorded music, with Universal having a one-third share. Spotify pays 70 per cent of its revenues to the content owners while Apple is said to pay a higher rate.

Service Paid users (millions)
Spotify 43m
Apple Music 20.9m
Deezer 6.9m
Rhapsody/Napster 4.5m
Google Play Music 2.7m
Tidal 1m
Others 21.4m

The table above shows just how many people have a subscription to one or more of these platforms, Spotify proving to be the most popular.

Streaming may or may not be the start of something amazing for these labels, but these are halcyon days for the music lover, with companies like Vevo and Pandora preparing to launch subscription services to compete with Google, Deezer, Apple, Amazon, Tidal and Spotify. So far, Spotify has set itself apart by offering well set out playlists and well-targeted song suggestions for each person depending on what you listen to.

Over all, I believe that all these platforms have more positive affects than negatives. the positives are that it is a lot easier to become an up and coming artist because you can put your own self recorded material onto these platforms, but unless you are well-known or have very good self promotion you more than likely wont make a lot of money from doing this, which is a negative. On the other hand if you are a very well situated artist in the industry and are singed to a good label with all the promotion you can get you are more likely to make a lot more money but more so for the lable than what you actually get. Personally I feel like Spotify is a great platform for music and the fact that you have millions of songs at your finger tips is amazing and once you have subscribed the only thing that can stop you from downloading al the songs you want is your storage on your phone.


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