Home Music Business The Crazy Business (and World) of Music Streaming – SoundCloud, Pay-for-Play and...

The Crazy Business (and World) of Music Streaming – SoundCloud, Pay-for-Play and More

Source: Billboard.com
Source: Billboard.com
Source: Billboard.com

Welcome to the all new #MusicLife News Blog at Deviant Noise.

We’re going to bring you the latest news on the music business and music creation from around the world. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Like us on facebook and subscribe to our RSS to stay up-to-date with the latest.

For our very first piece, it seems fitting to talk about music streaming.

No one cares about owning music anymore. If you’re still pressing CDs, understand it’s a novelty and only something your die-hard fans will ever purchase.

Even MP3s are going the way of the CD. Can you remember the last time you downloaded an MP3 instead of just searching YouTube or Spotify?

More and more people would say “No.”

Streaming is the new paradigm of the music business, but artists from around the world are still crying foul due to royalties and copyright issues. That’s why Jay-Z and crowd came out with Tidal. That’s also why Apple made a huge fuss about Apple Music. And there’s a lot of talk surrounding the existing king – Spotify.

But beyond the issue of who will win the streaming wars is the inner workings of the streaming music business.

SoundCloud Stops Reporting Streams to Next Big Sound

Not only are artists worried about what streaming may mean for their bottom line, companies like SoundCloud are worried about how reporting their streams may affect their business:

Next Big Sound offered one of the most complete sets of data in the music industry, but its about to lose a key data providers. Now that Next Big Sound is owned by Pandora, Soundcloud has decided it no longer wanted to share its data feed.

Source: HypeBot

What will this mean for artists who get played heavily on SoundCloud – will it affect their streaming revenue numbers? Can SoundCloud and Next Big Sound come to some sort of agreement?

Time will tell.

David Byrne Calls for More Transparency in Music Business

One thing is certain – not many people are happy with the current state of the music business – regardless of the site of the fence they sit on when it comes to streaming and digital music rights.

David Byrne – the man behind the “How Music Works” documentary – had a piece in the New York Times where he calls for more transparency in the business.

It’s easy to blame new technologies like streaming services for the drastic reduction in musicians’ income. But on closer inspection we see that it is a bit more complicated.

I asked YouTube how ad revenue from videos that contain music is shared (which should be an incredibly basic question). They responded that they didn’t share exact numbers, but said that YouTube’s cut was “less than half.”

And it seems like people from around the world agree.


Berklee’s Fair Music Report and its contributors see this as the primary issue facing digital music today. When an artist’s song is played, it can be exceptionally difficult to know who needs to get paid. Or how much they are owed. Or where the money is.

From outside the industry, it can seem like a simple problem. Fix the pipes, centralize the information, make it clear where money is going. But these complex practices have had over 100 years to grow, and not everyone has made the graceful transition to digital. The truth is it isn’t a surprise digital music is broken, and it isn’t any one person’s fault or singular responsibility.

Source: HypeBot

Payola in the Digital Music Business

And to make matters even more complicated is the revelation that Payola – the music business’s infamous “pay-for-play” strategy – is alive and well within the digital music revolution.

Billboard.com recently published an article that explained more:

As the Internet has leveled many power blocs of the old music business, playlists have become valuable currency in streaming’s new world order, so much so that record companies now actively promote — and sometimes pay for — their songs to appear on such services as Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music.

So despite the fact that the internet and streaming has been touted as the equalizer of the music business, big money still wins.

Streaming music is not going anywhere so the industry does need to embrace it. It’s a different world, but still one that can be profitable for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, no matter how revolutionary a change, transparency and fairness are tough things to come by.


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