We may be witnessing the end of the streaming music phenomenon. Over the past few months, an increasing number of both well-known and lesser-known artists have been refusing to appear on streaming platforms. The reason is clear: the per-track compensation, mere fractions of a cent, leave artists with minimal returns. Meanwhile, major record labels base their decision to sign an artist solely on streaming numbers or views.
For an artist, there is little benefit in being on these platforms. It’s more worthwhile to self-finance promotion on social media, redirecting fans to platforms like Bandcamp or personal websites offering a variety of products such as digital files, CDs, vinyl, T-shirts, mugs, etc. This approach is likely more lucrative than relying on income from Spotify, iTunes, or other streaming services.
Another survival strategy involves producing videos, uploading them to YouTube with ads before and after the content, and promoting them on social media. The same applies to concerts and ticket sales. Of course, all these strategies come with costs, often quite high, but reaching a break-even point is possible.
For songwriters and composers, depositing creations with rights management organizations like BMI is crucial. Being your own publisher ensures that broadcast rights directly benefit you from every concert or appearance on TV, commercials, and elsewhere.
While some labels, particularly in jazz, such as Mack Avenue or Blue Note, still actively contribute to an artist’s success, they are few. It’s not about being signed to a record label but about establishing a presence. Amateurism has no place in the current artistic landscape. Artists today, by necessity, become mini-entrepreneurs. Streaming platforms are becoming their downfall, and it’s evident that being on these platforms is not advisable unless one can afford to lose money. This may be what is slowly killing these platforms.
If you support artists, attend their concerts, buy their CDs and vinyl, listen to specialized radio stations, and consider abandoning streaming sites. By unsubscribing from these platforms, you contribute to cultural diversity and save artists by allowing them to thrive.
Thierry De Clemensat
Editor in Chief
Bayou Blue Radio/Bayou Blue News