Music is Dead. Long Live Music! Spotify, Streaming and the New Music Business

I love music. I love musicians. I love my friends. I love Spotify. Lately, many of my professional musician friends have been lamenting, complaining about, or otherwise bemoaning the poor royalty structure currently offered by streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Apple iTunes. While I am not currently a professional musician, I do understand their dilemma. They want to make their art and they want to get paid a fair amount of money for that art. It’s a very simple and clear desire and an understandable one. But no one can deny that the music industry has permanently changed. To borrow a phrase from the recent book “Bold” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kottler, dematerialization, demonetization and democratization have happened to the music business. There’s no going back now. It started with Napster and Metallica, and has progressed into Spotify and Taylor Swift. Share all the infographics you like, but Spotify, Apple and Pandora have won. Now what? Lament, complain, and commiserate, sure, but at the end of the day (oh how I hate that phrase), a person has to eat, and if you’re a musician that means finding a way to make a buck when the casual listener won’t pay you, the label won’t pay you, the club owner won’t pay you, and the festival organizer won’t pay you.

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