Where's The Value In A Streaming Music Service
Jimmy Iovine spoke recently about Apple Music and the way that the tech industry is building its audience on the back of artist's work. That's patently not true. The music industry has built an income stream on the back of artist's work and continues to do at a point where the advances in technology mean that their involvement benefits nobody in the production/delivery/consumption of music.
Streaming services currently pay 70% of their income stream to the music industry. The reason why you see and hear artists moaing about the poor payouts they recieve is entirely related to how that 70% is broken down and shared out.
The days when consumers would happily hand over a fistful of fivers for the latest release from their favourite artist are long gone. Napster and Limewire put paid to that. There was a period where artists lost their audience - or at least a portion of it - because those consumers hadf put a value of zero on music. As these were mostly younger consumers there were worrying long-term implications for the music industry as a whole.
The rise of music streaming services, led by Spotify, has achieved something positive. It has re-established a value for music. It's a very different value than before. However, we now know that consumers will pay around $10 a month to rent music libraries. There's the value for consumers.
For musicians and song-writers the question now is how do they retain the largest chunk of the portion of that $10 per month that relates to their work.
The obvious option is to throw off the shackles of the music industry. In the nineties Prince made it clear what he felt the relationship between artists and labels was like when he likened his role to that of a slave.
On-demand music streaming offers the chance for artists to re-cast that relationship. That's the value for artists.