Did Streaming Services Save the Music Industry?

Source: Pexels

Many people believe that streaming is killing the music industry because artists are losing out in terms of record sales and for many, this is their primary source of income. With anything, the truth is complex, and it’s important to look at the bigger picture.

How Digitisation Changed the Music Landscape

Through digitisation, people can access more content than ever and this is helping to provide new and exciting opportunities within the market. Digitisation hasn’t just impacted the music industry either. Filmmakers can launch documentaries on YouTube, podcasters can stream their latest releases on Spotify and gamers can play Plinko Go. Some advancements have happened as a result of digitisation too, for example, games that combine leading betting sports such as racing with roulette, with the option of being able to play live with other players.

Online casinos have capitalised on digitisation, and with the demand for live content increasing by the year, it’s been a positive move for the music sector too. Platforms such as YouTube allow bands to livestream rehearsals before a gig, giving fans a deeper look into what happens behind the scenes.

Bands like Trivium do this on Twitch before every show, to provide fans with an inside look of what’s to come. Streaming services have helped to make music more accessible, with genre-specific playlists showcasing new tracks.

Streaming has also enabled exposure for artists to larger audiences. Spotify, for example, currently has over 573 million active users and 226 million premium subscribers. When a band launches a new song on the platform, they have the potential to be heard by millions across the world. Without digitisation, none of this would be possible.

The Music Industry was Shrinking before Streaming Took Off

The music industry was indeed shrinking before streaming took off. Someone might have bought a vinyl, and the artist may have taken home up to 20% of the sale. With that being said, people often resold vinyl and traded them to friends.

As a result of this, the artist was getting the benefit of a single sale, even though that same record was being resold multiple times. With streaming, bands can get paid per stream. When you combine this with the fact that people aren’t likely to buy vinyl from a band they have never heard before, it’s not hard to see how streaming has been a launch pad for new bands.

For some artists, thousands of streams from a single fan can add up to a bigger source of income than they would get through selling one record.

Interestingly, streaming has also facilitated the rise of vinyl once more. People are discovering bands on streaming services and still going out to buy the record because they want to own a piece of a band’s history. People spent $1.2 billion on records in 2022, which was a whopping 20% increase from the year before.

The main takeaway is that even though streaming can sometimes result in less initial profit for bands, they have the potential to reach more fans, which generates more tickets, merch sales and general publicity. With limited space on the radio, smaller bands are the ones who have capitalised most on the digital movement.


Source: Pexels