Yne Van De Mergel
Is streaming really the music industry’s final destination?
I do think music streaming is the industry’s final destination, yes. I just think the Internet has significantly changed the way we obtain and process information and it makes it so easy for people to access everything freely (like Berger said). As someone who loves music, I feel obliged to reward the artist for their work and buy physical copies, merchandise and stuff, but not everyone feels that way. Getting rid of streaming would not improve the artist’s popularity at all in my opinion, it would be the opposite. (TSwift being the exception here because she had the world at her feet already before removing her music from Spotify).
I think the majority of people who stream music do it out of laziness, they've grown to think streaming is a basic human right or something, mostly because they don’t really feel a connection with the music they listen to. They don’t feel like they have to pay for the content they get. Which is sad, but it’s today's truth. In an age where everyone has become somehow dependent on the Internet, there’s just no getting away from that. People can find and do everything online so why would they go to a CD /record store and buy actual records?
Then there’s the people like you and me, who realise how much effort and emotion goes into a song and we’re genuinely moved by it. I think that is the main difference, that is why we decide to contribute and pay for it in one way or another. I think streaming is important because it supports the artist, it can help them reach more people in ways they weren’t able to at all in the past. So when you look at it that way, it’s definitely a good thing for this industry. In the past, popularity was rather limited geographically, whereas now there's literally at least one fan per band in just about every country in the world. And that opens doors for them I think. Some of the (independent) musicians I follow express their surprise whenever someone from the Philippines or a country I can't remember the name of tweets them saying they love their music. And then a year and a half later they get to play a show there because that one person told their friends and they told their friends and so on. Isn't that what music is all about? Sharing the experience with other people? Whether it's fans with each other or the artist with the fans. I think that's beautiful and I think the essence of it all is lost in today's world where everyone is after money. I do get that they need to make a living for themselves, though, but the only way artists are going to find people in the first place, is by having an online presence. The first (crucial) step is getting to know the artist and getting to hear their music, again, through the Internet. And the only way they're going to find those people who are willing to spend the money they worked hard for on a Tshirt or an overpriced album bundle or a gig ticket, is through the internet. And if that means that they have to make their album or EP available for free streaming then I think they shouldn’t say no to that. So in that way, ultimately there’s no getting away from streaming.