Take a good look around. Streaming services are breathing down your neck trying to get you to give up the fight of trying to provide any other way of delivering your music to the masses. Apple music has just announced they reached 10 Million subscribers worldwide, and Spotify has nearly reach 20 Million, and reports to reach 25 million near the end of June. This all sounds very impressive, but it is still only capturing a fraction of the market.
The thing is, streaming services still does not really add up. According to research recently released by Nielsen, the average music consumer spends $153 a year total on all forms of music consumption — and half of that goes towards seeing live music. At $120 a year, paid streaming just isn’t a good value, especially when free options like YouTube and ad-supported Spotify exist. The same research found that 78% of those surveyed were unlikely to subscribe to a streaming service in the next six months, and half of those cited the cost of the service as their reason for choosing not to do so.
Let’s face it… the days of simply providing your music for exchange of money as a product are over.
There will always be a hand full of people who will go and purchase music, or subscribe to services. But most people are looking to invest more in an experience rather than the content. We need to view the music we are making as a trust building tool. Your music has already been valued without you having a say in it. Its true, even before you create the music, the general consumer is already used to listening to their music on free platforms like youtube, and ad free Spotify memberships.
In 2014 YouTube said that 300 hours of new videos were uploaded to the site every minute, three times more than one year earlier and that around three quarters of the material comes from outside the U.S. The site has 800 million unique users a month -Google
800 million unique users my goodness! Ok so by now you are probably saying to yourself “Thanks for raining on my parade, looks like I will never monetize from my art ever again.” Not true. You just now have to rethink how you go about providing exclusive experiences rather than just relying on the consumption of your music.
Use your music as a tool to build a healthy relationships with your new audience, and then provide things like virtual Skype/google hangout shows. Use it as a platform to have viewers pay to see a live show. Or do things like random fan invites to writing sessions. Now is your time to be creative with how you go about creating experiences for your audience and no longer gripe over them consuming your music for free.
Streaming services will be how music is consumed for the next couple of years, but eventually it will hit a ceiling. Now do not get me wrong, having your music on their is still a good idea because it does build a bit of authentic authority for you, but don’t make it your only lifeline.