This shift greatly affected the way artists and producers went about creating music. It was no longer enough to make one great song and a bunch of mediocre songs and call it an album. Each track had to be worth 99 cents for a user to spend their money on it.
As album and individual song sales continued to decline through the early 2000s, rights holders and creators began looking to streaming services who could pay them per ‘listen’ effectively, either through ad revenue or monthly subscription services. Today, streaming music services are ubiquitous to our lives. They have successfully quelled the demand for free download services like Napster, offering easy-to-use products and instant access to millions of songs that require zero space on a user’s hard drive.
There are dozens of platforms today that give users the freedom to stream and share music.
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- Google Play Music
Streaming services have become vital to the music industry, so much so that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) now factors music streaming into its Gold and Platinum album certifications. In fact, Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo”, with 3 billion worldwide streams, is the first record to go platinum based entirely on online plays.
Currently, the music industry lacks a verified global registry of music creatives and their works.
Attempts to build this have failed to the tune of millions of dollars, largely at the expense of some of the collective management organizations (CMOs), and the agencies (such as ASCAP , PRS , PPL and SOCAN ) who ensure that songwriters, publishers, performers, and labels are paid for the use of their music by collecting royalties on behalf of the rights owners.
This has become a real issue, as evidenced by the $150 million class action lawsuit that Spotify is currently wrestling with.