The Future of Music: NOT Streaming!

 
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Leaders of the world’s online streaming services came together at London’s The Escalator, with StrategyEye, to try and convince us why exactly online streaming is the way forward. Deezer’s Christian Harris began the evening, predicting that by 2018, there would only be five online streaming services that are taking over the music industry, and that streaming would be where the whole market is for music. Boiler Room’s CCO Mazdak Sanii then explained about his video streaming service, which broadcasts underground concerts and gigs, arguing that “videos are the heart of future of music,” influenced by MTV and the vast impact it had to its audience in the 1990s. Disagreeing with Deezer’s function of recommended playlists, Sanii argued how algorithmic recommendations just don’t cut it for people- it is the human curation of recommendations and taste that people yearn for.

 

7Digital’s Ben Drury furthered this online streaming debate, and pointed out how whilst it may be a grand statistic of containing 35 million songs in their database, this is in fact meaningless, because only a tiny portion of that get played- similar to how a radio station only actually contains about 200 songs in their playlist. Drury took us through a history of music, defining the CD as the first age of digital music, Apple’s world domination and the iPod as the second age of digitial music- with apple having 85% of the market share in digital music- and streaming being the third and current age of digital music. But is this actually good? “Convenience trumped quality” Drury explains, with low quality and less appealing music being easily accessible trhough these mediums, compared to a time in the CD age for example, when people prioritised quality over convenience and were willing to pay for creative products.

 

Online streaming is highly dangerous and offensive to the label and the artist. More than anything, it’s disrespectful to all those who had put work into it, by enabling people to access these for free. T-Swizzle and The Beatles got it right, self-respecting their own art. Why the outrage that they are not available on Spotify, when available on iTunes and in stores? While Deezer’s Harrison might argue that these services provide millions of royalties to the labels and the artists, it’s irrelevant, because it is a negligible amount. Harrison also argued that streaming services let the music be accessible to a wide audience- what he seems to have forgotten is that the music is equally accessible on download platforms such as iTunes or Amazon, except just a mere £0.99 more. So, online streaming services are really a matter of serving stingy consumers, and encouraging their greed. Besides, the biggest streaming service Spotify lost millions of dollars last year anyway- so who is this streaming revolution really benefitting, if it hurts the artists, labels, and the streaming services themselves?