Has Streaming Killed The Music Industry?

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Do you want to know more about the music industry and how streaming has impacted it? Then keep on reading and find out everything you need to know, right here.

music industry streaming
Live music performance

What is Music Streaming?

In this day and age, music streaming gives fans the chance to listen to their favourite artists without having to buy a band’s record. It also allows them to hear or even access songs in real-time without having to download the music outright. So these music services really do benefit consumers, but will it benefit you as a recording artist?

That’s the burning question that we are going to answer today. Take a look below to find out the answer to the burning question- has streaming changed music?

Music Industry streaming

YouTube Video

The Benefits of Streaming – The Good

You do receive some benefit if you use a music streaming site as an artist. The main reason for this is because streaming can help you to increase your fan base. A lot of major and independent record labels, along with music right holders can license their music to be streamed. With millions of users having potential access to your music, it’s safe to say that you can increase your fan base by a huge amount.

You may find that more and more people are buying tickets to your concerts and that they are also willing to pay for your merchandise. At the end of the day, this is what is really funding your tours and your paychecks overall, so it is worth taking this into account.

Has the music industry changed? Well, statistics show that Spotify users spend 80% more on merchandise, music CDs and gig tickets when compared to those who do not use Spotify. Some of this could come down to the fact that you’re more likely to use Spotify if you are a music fan, but at the end of the day, it also means that music is more accessible.

Either way, it doesn’t matter what angle you look at things from. There are so many benefits to being on sites such as Spotify. It can help you to generate additional revenue from your streaming royalties.

How do you Get Paid? – The Bad

The growth of the music industry in this day and age has led to royalties being paid to record labels, those who hold the rights to the music and somewhere down the line, you as a recording artist.

Royalty amounts tend to be around .0005 cents, or a fraction of a penny. This is the basic rate per stream. So when you break it down, what does all of this mean?

Streaming services will pay royalties to record labels and the music right holders. This all comes down to the agreement that they have entered into with them. Usually, license agreements will call for the streaming service to pay a fraction of a cent to the record companies so that they get a payment every time the song is played or streamed. The remaining money is then distributed to the songwriters and the performers.

After the streaming service has paid the basic royalty rate, which usually goes to the record label or studio. The label then usually keep 85% of the profit which leaves you with just .000075 cents. That’s a micro fraction of a penny.

Streaming music
Money coins

Can you Make a Living From Streams Alone? – The Ugly

As a recording artist, you need to consider whether or not these royalties will give you the chance to quit your job. If you want an even clearer picture…If you get paid .000075 cents for every stream, you would get $75 if your song went viral and got streamed one million times. Not great!

Big players

If you are a major recording artist in the music industry, such as Ed Sheeran. Chances are you’re getting huge radio airplay then those fractions of a penny would add up and give you a good amount of royalties.


For those of you who are independent artists and are focused on a DIY attitude. Your royalties will be minimal, to say the least. Streaming can destroy your CD sales because your users will be looking for a free musical alternative.


If you are an indie recording artist then it makes a huge difference if a single person buys your CD or even if they buy your song on iTunes when compared to streaming your music online. This is because it would take millions of streams to make up the price of a single person listening to a CD.

If your song was downloaded on iTunes for .99 cents per song, you’d be able to make a living much more easily when compared to getting .000075 cents per stream. You can do the math there, but at the end of the day, the number of streams your track would have to get in order to reach the price of one download would be unbelievable. Your user would probably get sick of hearing your song before they get to this point.

Fancy buying your music streams? We highly do not recommend that idea. There are a whole bunch of issues that can arise from doing. Issues such as being blacklisted, being dishonest to your fans and the fact that you could be spending that money to actually promote your band. Utilise your time and efforts wisely and redirect your attention to more important matters. *such as creating great content!*


The Future of Subscriber Growth

Right now, it seems like it is way more beneficial, as a recording artist, to have your fans buy your CD rather than stream your music. That being said, all hope is not lost. Streaming is becoming more popular and people are going to help it to thrive over the next 5 or so years. The amount of paying subscribers is going to grow as well, meaning that royalty payments will climb.

Spotify for example, are now offering deals to try and get people to sign up to their platform and with this extra traffic and sales, will come extra royalty payments. Some bands are also able to get found on Spotify, which leads to more sales in records and merchandise, so it’s not all bad, but it’s certainly not all good.

Final Thoughts

So has streaming killed the music industry? There are some ugly truths, and some fantastic benefits to music streaming.


The bottom line is that you shouldn’t quit your day job to stream your music on Spotify, or other platforms, but you should use it as a launchpad to rocket your CD, merch and ticket sales.

Steve Allinson

Coming soon