Are Streaming Services Detrimental to Artists?


Jack Garrigus, Editorial Staff

With the boom of new technologies, the music industry is thriving. It has never been easier to listen to music and find new songs. The accessibility, personalization, and ease of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music has increased the total number of people willing to pay for music.

It is clear that the industry as a whole is making lots of money; The Recorded Music Association of America (RIAA) announced that “overall revenues in the US recorded music industry grew 12% to $9.8 billion last year.”

However, it is much less clear where exactly all this money is going. Some reports indicate that the percentage of revenue being kept by the streaming platforms, and not the artists themselves has been climbing. According to the Entertainment Retailers Association, only 56.4% of the total revenue of streaming services end up with labels or artists.

These platforms only exist to provide the average person access to these artists’ talents, yet nearly 45% of the profit winds up with the app. The per stream rate for the artist is typically less than a cent, which is of course split between the artist and his label. Unless a song truly blows up, it is hard to make a living creating music for these platforms.

Furthermore, Spotify has come under fire recently to objecting to a rise of royalties for songwriters in the US. Many artists ripped into the platform, for without the artists Spotify could not exist. Although these sentiments are legitimate, it is also logical to realize that these streaming platforms are driving market growth that makes music so profitable.

As the “Rolling Stone” writes, streaming services might be keeping a higher percentage of music industry money from artists than ever before – but they’re making artists much more cash, too.”

Before Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and TIDAL, the music industry was thought to be on the way out. It had experienced a steady decline since the CD boom in the 1990s. These streaming platforms have revitalized music, and the artists that make it.

At the end of the day, artists can’t complain because without the Apple Music’s of the world, they would not be able to make much money at all.