In our recent feature with Zachary Gray of The Zolas he discussed some of the trade-offs of being a musician in a post-CD era. It was interesting getting the perspective from a touring musician first hand and getting his thoughts on the ridiculously low digital royalty rates that streaming services like Rdio and Spotify are paying artists.
Rather than being bitter, and without even a hint of youthful naiveté, Zach believes the trade-off is ultimately a win-win for the artist in terms of potential unlimited exposure. Furthermore, if you add some of the pixie dust of social media and old school touring and selling merch into the equation chances are you could be reaching more people than you ever could have 10 years ago.
The music industry has become a clusterfuck of epic proportions somewhat akin to a schizophrenic on a sugar rush directing traffic. CD’s are dead and vinyl sales are increasing (naturally a drop in the bucket comparatively speaking but it still feels good writing that). But now the streaming services (the above culprits) are making serious in roads into the digital download slice of the pie. This shouldn’t be surprising. If digital downloads (legal and illegal) and abandoning physical CD’s set the rules of engagement between fans and the music they consume, then it’s not at all unreasonable or surprising to see them now abandoning even physical downloads in favor of unfettered streaming access. Clearly unfettered access trumps ownership every time. Have a look at this infographic courtesy of Daily Infographic that maps out the evolution of how we got here.