Streaming services shortchange artists

BY LANDON WILLIAMS

Everyone is looking for the cheapest way to get what they want. That’s why Black Friday exists.

It would be easy to go off on a tangent and talk about how ironic it is that everyone rushes to get the best deals on things they don’t need the day after being thankful for the things they already have, but I digress. That’s just America.

When it comes to music, streaming services such as Spotify are definitely the cheapest and easiest way to legally access almost any song you want.

Though these services can be a affordable way for people to listen to their favorite music, people don’t usually take into account how little these services pay the artists that make the music. If you look at the data, streaming services like Spotify are devaluing music.

A free membership for Spotify gets you access to shuffle mode for any artist who’s available. There is a commercial every 30 minutes, and you only get a handful of opportunities to skip songs you don’t like.

But in essence, you get the ability to listen to music more freely than you ever have before.

Premium Spotify memberships cost $10 a month. If you are a college student, it costs only $5 a month. With a premium membership, you get unlimited access to any available song at any time. You can also download any song you want for free so you can listen at your leisure offline.

Services like Spotify sound like an amazing idea, until you find out how much each artist is making per stream. According to data released by Spotify, each stream pays the artist an average of 0.006 cents.

There are a few artists who still make millions of dollars from Spotify streams. You won’t find Drake or Rihanna complaining about what they make on Spotify. The people most hurt by Spotify are the 95 percent of artists who don’t get billions of streams.

Spotify isn’t fair. It doesn’t acknowledge the value or hard work that goes into making every song we enjoy. You would have to listen to a song 1,000 times in order for the artist to get paid $6.

The people who struggle even more are the songwriters behind chart-topping hits. In 2015, Kevin Kadish, who wrote “All About That Bass,” was paid a grand total of $5,679 from Spotify royalties over the course of one year. This may seem like a good chunk of cash until you realize that “All About That Bass” was streamed 178 million times that year.

Streaming is such a new concept that the laws regarding pay are underdeveloped. Spotify claims to pay billions of dollars a year in royalties, but labels usually hoard this money with very little of it going to the artists.

Recently, there have been endeavors to make streaming fairer to the people who make music. The Grammys, Taylor Swift and The Black Keys have all actively expressed their displeasure for Spotify.

They are fighting for the future of music. They recognize that streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal are growing rapidly. Not too far in the future, artists and songwriters won’t be able to pay for the basic necessities.

Music is a pivotal part of everyone’s life. Music has saved lives, built careers and actively made a difference in the world.

If music has impacted you in any way, please consider purchasing it directly from iTunes or buying the CD at a concert.

By actually purchasing the music, you are keeping the artist behind the music alive.

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