Dead or alive? That seems to be the main question when it comes to the music industry. The answers vary depending on whom you ask. Consumers would probably say that the music industry is alive and well. In fact, it might be the best time to consume music: you can listen to your favorite artists online whenever and wherever you want for free or at a low price.
Streaming services and radios, such as Spotify or Pandora, are at the peak of their success with Spotify reaching over 50 million subscribers, more than 12 million of which are paid users, and with the percentage of music streaming rising every year. However, you’d get a different answer from artists themselves, who just can’t make a living off such streaming sites, despite their music being listened to by thousands of users.
These two viewpoints distract from a more complex reality. There is no doubt that the Internet has changed the way music is consumed, produced, and distributed. For the artist, streaming and one-song purchases are less profitable than selling entire albums. In fact, quite a few artists have expressed concerns or forthright contempt about services like Spotify. A well-known example of this involved Taylor Swift removing her catalogue from the online streaming site. She did this on the basis that artists do not get their fair share of profits, and she is not alone on this.
Initiatives such as the Content Creators Coalition and Fair Digital Deals Declaration also show that artists feel threatened in the digital age. In response to accusations, Spotify has made their payments more transparent: the service only keeps 30% of their profits and claim that record labels are to blame for short-changing of artists. Another concern comes from David Byrne, who claims that it would be unsustainable for creative work to be funded by digital streaming. Spotify, again, asserts that streaming is more profitable than single track sales, as royalties are paid for every listen. Moreover, they claim their rates to be higher than other services:
Despite his critiques, Byrne agrees that music-streaming sites are a great way for new artists to get exposure. They can be found not only by new fans, but also by producers who may get them a record label deal. In this way, the digital revolution has benefited musicians. Traditional record labels can be exploitative and do not allow for much variety. Nowadays, new artists can self-manage through websites like SoundCloud, where the rights to the content and full profits belong to them alone. Subscribing to this view is music producer Steve Albini, for whom the ability to freely share and listen to music is ‘an incredible development’. The British Phonographic Industry goes so far as to claim that streaming actually fuels UK’s music industry growth. Perhaps it’s a bit early to be concerned about online streaming — despite the fact that this way of listening to music is undeniably growing, physical sales remain dominant in the UK.
All this considered, the music industry is really neither alive nor dead, and this Schrodinger’s cat situation is a result of its attempts to adapt to the massive transformations wrought by digitization. Luke Henderson, producer at Fluke Productions, a recording studio in East London puts a positive spin on the situation: “streaming does provide an easily accessible platform for upcoming artists that never previously existed. Indeed it is good to see, in spite of the disarray of the industry the amount of people out there still making half decent music!”
This platform, i.e. streaming websites as a whole have regained some control over consumers, with sites such as Spotify. Which is a cheap and accessible alternative to piracy, and it is trying to regain even more control with Warner Music making a license deal with SoundCloud. There is no way back from these accessible, cheap, or even free ways to listen to music, but a closer collaboration between streaming sites, labels, and artists themselves would appear to be the way forward.
by Chloe Hashemi
Danny, you are the exclusive representative of Music2Deal in Australia, anything you would like to share about this?
Well firstly, I’d like to take a moment to say a big “thank you” to both Mario Christiani and Sudhir Shreedharan for the opportunity to be an element of Music2Deal’s fast-growing international music platform for connecting music professionals together in one hub to provide musicians, record labels and a&r’s supplementary opportunities and a complex way of connecting. It’s a perfect correlation to intertwine both entities Paiday.Inc and M2D to create a new revolution in the music Industry internationally
Tell us a little bit about your experience in the Music Industry.
I got started into the music industry as a producer and DJ at a very young age, in my mid-teens. I eventually developed and grew my experiences to owning my own nightclub operating in Melbourne’s premier precinct at the age of 21 that was tailored around the Gay Industry, a nightspot that catered to fashion designers, dancers, entertainment aspiring individuals and professionals that were well recognized in the Industry. The nightspot had a very good run and was later sold as I moved to the US for a few years where I had built the foundation of Paiday.Inc. The USA allowed me to network with Artist and Music Managers, A&R’s, Artists and many Music Industry tycoons and moguls whom are now a part and of our Executive Management Team.
Very Impressive, please tell us a bit about Paiday.Inc Management
Paiday.Inc Management is Asia Pacific’s Live Events, Publishing, PR & Artist Management Powerhouse. Paiday.Inc carries the need to develop independent Artists to showcase their material on an international level via our colossal distribution channel as well as our marketing and advertising networks.
Paiday.Inc connects music fans with music makers all around the world. Paiday.Inc has developed a system to use music as a vehicle to reach people around the globe to encourage and promote peace, love & unification with musicians with different cultures and talent which is the vital and the true core of our business.
By involving partners and producing events on a global level will allow us to fulfill our goal. Our company offers its clients every conceivable service available in the business. We are a worldwide organization, designed to provide on the -ground support in countries far and wide. Our company is storming toward the genesis of a new music model, one that places the artist at both the creative and financial center.
Have there been any major “stumbling blocks” for you while growing in the competitive world of Entertainment?
I mean, from an audio production, management and live venue operation perspective many opportunities in the past were constraint by missed opportunities and stumbling blocks as you may call them, but nevertheless the growth and positives outweighed the negatives in my experiences within the Entertainment Industry for the reason that I always had a solution and a way to overcome my obstacles. My biggest stumbling block to date was a partnership cave in with poor and incapable promoters in South Korea, which had breached on an agreement for one of the largest festival projects I had planned and invested to be the biggest in South Korea, we overcame the situation and have made great turns and major growth since that day. There has always been stumbling blocks during the climb but nevertheless these are the situations that assist in the current situation strategy which allows a CEO to reflect on what could possibly be the pros and cons and which option outweighs the other by reflecting on the past experiences. Competition is greatly valued and respected from my point of view. As a competitor I believe in putting up a good competition against competitors by implementing innovative and new ideas and becoming the best, but at the end of day we must always grow to be supportive of one another, and learn to appreciate everyone’s goals in the Industry. I have a vivid eye for the term competition as I see it more of an opportunity.
What do you think is the single largest problem faced by the music industry today? How do you think it can be resolved?
I don’t believe there is one single largest problem faced by the music industry, there is 99 problems the industry is up against, however in saying that I believe one of the single largest problem faced by not only the Music Industry but the Musicians itself is that it is harder than the analog era for Artists to get recognized and thanks to the birth of Music2Deal shall definitely light new flames and gleam with promising results. It’s a great networking platform to help engage Artists with Management Companies like Paiday.Inc to assist with Independent Artists careers with flair and conversant business consulting.
Big plans ahead for 2015?
Many big plans, majority of the year of 2014 was in fact the foundation-strengthening stages of Paiday.Inc to execute our big new innovative plans in 2015, with a brand new roster of Artists, Events and a brand-new service that shall be something that our company will be tailored around is very exciting and looking forward to the new year ahead.
Do you think Music2Deal.com can help get Australian artists to a further audience both nationally and internationally?
Music2Deal.com is a great example of an innovative platform to assist in connecting Artists with labels, managers, a&r’s and music executives in general. I confidently believe in Music2Deal and its unique platform to be a major bond-hub for music professionals not only in multiple countries around the world, but more so in Australia, and giving Australian artists an opportunity to connect with International labels and management companies to assist in their aspiring Music careers on an international and global scale.