The Business of Streaming and the After Effects of a Digital Marketplace

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A really great article on the current explosion of the digital streaming marketplace and it’s subsequent takeover of standard music purchases can be read here (Billboard Article). It is interesting how much things have changed in the past decade and half. I remember the times of the pirates like Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa, etc. and how they threatened to undermine popular music. Then digital stores started popping up like iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, Amazon, Google Play, and many more. With each new incarnation of digital distribution there have been the critics who have tried to signal “the end is near” for popular music and yet time and time again they’ve been proven wrong. It’s progress and really at this point, you can’t stop it. If I could offer any advice it would be to support the bands you love by purchasing some kind of merchandise whether it be a CD, Vinyl, Tape, Tshirt, Hoodie, and even a concert ticket. If you can’t do that, then send a band you love $5 through paypal/donation. That’s why I love crowd funding because it puts you in direct contact with the bands you love and offers incentives for your financial support. You can not go into a brick and mortar store expecting to get the same treatment by a band and/or record label the way you would from a crowd funding campaign, it just can’t happen from a financial standpoint. Stores can’t mark their merchandise up too high or they’ll become less competitive with the online retailers and thus risk losing customers.

I purchase my music from a personal standpoint in several different ways. 1) I stream what I enjoy and the classics 2) I contribute and purchase from a variety of crowd funding campaigns to get more bang for my buck 3) I buy on Bandcamp whenever possible 4) I purchase Vinyl and other print media from online stores like SRCVinyl/Label stores and finally 6) Shop on foot at a brick and mortar record store which are becoming more and more rare in upscale Orange County. 5) If I can’t find what I’m looking for and are price shopping when my funds dwindle, I buy online through that evil marketplace known as Amazon 😉 I’m kidding of course, most of the time you really can’t beat the prices and treatment you get from Amazon. I’ve rarely had any of my vinyl show up damaged (only once was an album by Live “damaged” slightly but it still played and sounded good, just the vinyl had popped through the top paper packaging). I have bought a lot of music over the past 25 years of “collecting” and the majority of my CDs are now in storage, collecting dust. Like I said above, you just can’t fight progress.

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Noah Hardwick
April 3, 2017 1:13 pm

It’s going to be really interesting to watch and see how this all plays out. I’d agree that streaming is here to stay, but it may yet still see some drastic changes in the next few years. Right now services like Spotify and Apple Music still depend on having a nearly complete library to gain paid subscribers. But at the same time everyone wants to be the service with the exclusive album that no one else has. I fear that in the next few years we will see a lot more artists signing exclusive deals causing greater fragmentation in streaming… Read more »

Daniel J
Daniel J
April 3, 2017 2:27 pm

+1 for Bandcamp! I used to buy a lot of CD’s on Amazon until exchange rates and shipping to Oz got ridiculous. Now days I buy FLAC from Bandcamp and zdigital mostly. Streaming is great for discovering new music and previewing tracks, but I still prefer to own a copy of the music I intend to listen to regularly.

April 3, 2017 12:46 pm

Good stuff Brandon! My number one way to listen to music will always be my video ipod player. Streaming is great but at the same time its a little overwhelming with the amount of music available. I enjoy all the albums I have bought all in one place. I also still buy cds and keep them in my car. I do have Spotify but I try and keep that to a minimum.

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