Does the music streaming model need to reform?

Torbay Weekly

The age of music streaming - made popular by its on-demand capabilities, granting people the ability to listen to and discover more music than ever before.

It's also based on an archaic business model, which sees major labels increasingly maximise their revenue, while many musicians struggle to even make minimum wage.

The fatalistic outlook of the music industry in the 2000s welcomed streaming as a saviour to the business of music after physical record sales began to decline and rightly so.

However, the position of major music companies in the streaming sphere and the unjust low royalty rates which musicians receive has called for a reset of music streaming from MPs, a stance very much accepted from the like of even the most established artists and industry insiders, such as Nile Rodgers and Billy Bragg.

Part of the problem stems from the existing recording contracts that artists have with labels.

Prior to the internet, the majority of royalties would have been distributed to the record labels because of their dominant roles in developing artists.

Despite existing within a digital sphere, libraries distributed via streaming sites such as Spotify are still commanded under outmoded contract terms.

Artists aren’t directly paid by streaming services, but rights holders are, which is routinely the record label which the artist sits under.

The artist is then paid according to the legal contract, usually based on the physical distribution model from a pre-streaming music industry.

This all happens, despite the fact that the majority of releases are available by the click of a space-bar.

While the intricacies of the music streaming debate expand greater than a 350-word article, it is unarguable that royalty rates need to be reformed in order to reflect the ways the music is delivered today.

It’s not the streaming sites that are the problem, but the major labels who continue to perpetuate the issues that come with it.

Through rectifying the balance in favour of the artists that create the music that we all enjoy, we can continue to reap the benefits.