Let’s start with general arguments in favour and against music streaming. The pros and cons of music streaming:
- They are practical and portable: music is available at any time and anywhere, plus your disk space remains free.
- They offer a large and affordable selection: listeners have access to unlimited listening, easy finding and new artists discovery in all possible genres.
- They are up to date: listeners receive automatic recommendations based on their playlists with current charts and new releases.
- The question of ownership and usage rights: listeners do not own the music like it would be the case when buying a CD.
- Advertisement: free users of streaming platforms receive a lot of ads between their streams.
- Payment: last but not least, artists receive a lower income from such streaming services than when selling CDs.
Spotify’s freemium model was in fact criticised by the American pop singer Taylor Swift as she said it encourages its users not to pay for music. According to a study by the two researchers Joel Waldfogel and Luis Aguiar, streaming portals don’t actually increase the income of musicians, but they don’t lower them either! Record companies are the ones responsible for the profit of the artists. They determine the profit margin that the musicians will directly receive.
What Do Musicians Really Earn From Streaming?
Specifically, musicians could earn up to $3.97 in 2018 with Spotify in the USA for 1,000 streams. Napster paid $16.82 for the same amount, which is 70% of the subscription profits. Apple Music paid $7.83 for 1,000 streams and Amazon paid $7.40. However, artists also get the 0.0X cent per stream on an ongoing basis and not just once like when buying a download or a good old CD.
This brings us to what is probably the most important point about the pros and cons of music streaming: the streaming data, which is generally used as an argument both for and against it.
- It’s a PRO while giving automation and insights into real listening habits.
- It’s a CON because it means collecting data from the users.
What is behind it and how is the point to be seen from a music-creator’s perspective?
Data Make Knowledge. Knowledge Makes Success.
Spotify hosted the first streaming data-based concert in 2018. It was sold out in a few minutes. That also makes sense! Promoters are not only interested in the music. They also want to know who is listening to the act in their region. Who knows where the fans are and how an act really develops behind the official promo messages can promote more successful shows. Due to the global success of music streaming, this information already exists. They are only not used yet because it is complex to prepare the data for practical use.
Using Spotify as an example, we show you what data we are talking about and how you can access it.
Spotify for Artists: Who Listens To Me Where, When, How?
Since 2017 the “Fan Insights” is called at Spotify Spotify for Artists and are available for all artists. Spotify for Artists helps labels, management and artists gain insight into their own audiences, song data and playlist placements. What’s new?
Music fans of an artist who has a blue checkmark behind his name know that this profile really belongs to their act. Every artist gets this popular verification automatically when using the new Spotify for Artists.
Artist Profile With Bio and Social Media Connect
Similar to the gigmit artist page, artists can now edit their profile and bio directly with 1500 words or less, @-links to relevant artists, playlists or albums and add up to 125 images (690×500 px, without text or logos in the background). In addition, several team members can work on the profile and social media profiles can be linked.
Integrated Live Gigs
Upcoming concerts are automatically included in the profile when tickets are sold via the partner platforms Ticketmaster, AXS or Eventbrite. Or, if this is not the case, for all those who have set their gigs to Songkick.
Data And Statistics
Statistics are no longer only available for songs that have been streamed over 1,000 times, but for each song. Who, where, when, how? A time filter makes it possible to sort the information by 7 days, 28 days or 2 years in order to assign the statistics to any concerts or promotions. A timeline showing the growth of your “super fans” (the follower data) can also be viewed.
What’s all this for? The collection of all these data points and links makes it possible to trace musical developments faster and more concretely. But there is also the insight: The more people having this information, the healthier for the musical landscape as a whole. That’s why Spotify shows artists the usage data of their own music.
Streaming Is the First Step of Getting Booked
You think now: I would like to use this data for my booking! And we say: this is a very good idea! If you as an artist know where people listen to your music, play there and not in front of an empty house! If you as a promoter could see whether a live act is also heard by the people around your venue, your booking decision will probably be easier for you. The data is hot! For artists as well as for promoters. The information that artists can see in their personal “Spotify for Artists” are not public. It would, therefore, take a great deal of effort to research and prepare the data for each individual booking and to show it to the club or festival as an argument. Although promoters would like to see that, hardly anyone does it by default.
Good News: gigmit Does It for You
In the near future, gigmit will supplement and provide all information relevant for booking from music streaming with social media data. The first prototype will be released in 2019. We want to diversify the industry, refresh festival line-ups and feed the creative gut feeling of the bookers with economic-relevant knowledge. The gigmit project LASER is supported by the European Union for the development of an algorithm that makes sustainable booking easier.
Artist Conclusion: Streaming Data Support Your Booking
For you, as an artist, it is important that you can be discovered. Especially at the beginning streaming platforms are a suitable promo tool. People have to be able to find your music. The other way around: If you’re not on Spotify, you won’t take place in many parts of the industry. The payment is of secondary importance here. There is actually no alternative to the simple handling of streaming platforms. For example, LORDE was given a helping hand from Spotify. Spotify’s data team takes a close look at current trends in order to discover the potential of corresponding artists. We want these trends to be discovered by other players in the live industry as well. It also means that – unlike in mainstream radio – major labels are not preferred by Spotify. So it makes perfect sense to be visible on streaming portals.
If you are not yet present on the most popular platforms, our friends from DITTO can help you here. DITTO allows gigmit PRO users to release unlimited music for one year free of charge and to keep 100% of their earnings. Important: In order to use your streaming data optimally for your booking, you simply have to link your accounts with your gigmit artist page. Everything else the gigmit system runs for you.
Promoter Conclusion: Streaming Data Support Your Booking
You decide who plays with you. You have your methods, your taste and your creative gut feeling. Soon you will be shown the relevant streaming and social media data for your region along with every suitable live act via gigmit. What do you have to do? Just keep using gigmit – Booker’s Little Helper. The update comes automatically and for free. In the meantime feel free to create the next gig for free…
Together we make live easier and the industry more diverse.