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Why Pay For Music, When You Can Stream For Free?


By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 3 years ago 4 min read

For years people have said this to me, and now there's a generation that has grown believing you shouldn't have to pay for music , films or anything really. It's a sad situation and a lot of it was caused by the greed of the already rich , when they saw how they could rip off their fans with the advent of CD (Elton John and Metallica I'm pointing the finger firmly at you). Also a little at Led Zeppelin with yet another round of remasters.

When music became digitally copyable (Is that a word) , it was the first time that everyday media could be stolen over and over again. Taping from the radio was always subject to interference and copying from vinyl had to be done in real time. But ......

Just because you can do something doesn't make it right ....

And just because a band is playing in a pub you shouldn't expect it to be free.

There's costs involved , they equipment , getting there , fuel and the graft put into to learning the music.

As for CDs , while recording can be done relatively cheaply and with digital distribution you don't need to risk a costly run of music that may not sell.

Spotify is not a good model for artists as it's based on a pay per play basis , so new artists , at the best, will just get exposure.

And this is what it means, every time you don't pay for something you are effectively shoplifting if you don't have permission to take that item. Some artists give away their music and make their profit by charging a modest ten or twenty pounds for a gig . I have recently seen Nadine Shah and Du Blonde playing less than a tenner for tickets , having a brilliant night , and I bought their records too. In my small way keeping these people going. So this is really like the opening scene to Reservoir Dogs where the guy won't tip the waitress and the other guys take him to task, I'm one of the other guys.

So if you want to support music , get down to your record shop and buy some records, and get to see a band and pay to see them.

Would you work for nothing ? I think not ... so support music .

On twitter I keep seeing a poll for what is the best streaming app, Spotify , Amazon or Apple Music (or whatever it's called this week). There are lots of other similar genre specific apps like Pandora, and people often want to share their Spotify playlists with me.

I don't do Spotify or any other music streaming service. Someone makes a lot of money from streaming and, unless you're Ed Sheeran or Adele, it's not the artist. Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" was the biggest selling album of that year and they made about £13K from streaming which might have paid for a lunch break.

People often like the "if you like that you'll like this" option, but that is so open to abuse, and let's face it payola has been around since records were first sold.

Most people listen on mobile devices and the unseen cost for that is streaming uses data, so if you are not on free or unlimited wifi you network provider can start coining it.

Also if you expect your streaming service why not listen to a radio station and trusted DJs and shows. The last I heard artists got paid £50 if their song is played on the radio. I don't know if it's the same now or the same on all stations but it's a damned sight better than streaming rates. Also given that often today's youth can't listen to more than 20 seconds of a song how do you remunerate for part streams? Many years ago Peter Gabriel was involved with a company call "WE" who's plan was to set of a system where you paid a nominal small fee to listen to a song. I objected to this as if I like music I want to buy a single or album and play it in perpetuity.

Youtube seems to be OK, it's generally free with on ads, and I don't hear artists complaining about it so they must be getting adequate recompense or you would see music being continually pulled. However, the video uses a lot more data than music does so this can be another money spinner for mobile phone companies.

If streaming is your bag that's fine but I will stay with radio, visiting record shops , gigs and enjoying music I buy.

I suppose a perfect heading music would be "Stealin' " by Uriah Heep from their "Sweet Freedom" album.

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Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

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