Musician Ron Pope has written an Op-Ed for Billboard titled “How I Made $250K From Streaming.”
The point of view of the article is from an independent musician who obviously works hard at the business side of his music. He describes how the streaming services have given him the ability to distribute worldwide – an impossibility before streaming came along unless you were signed to a major record company.
Pope’s article is worth reading because it gives a balanced, level-headed, real-world view point of the current business of music.
Pope describes a scenario of person A sharing one of his songs with person B. Then person B being able to hear more of his music for free — potentially becoming a fan. Pope says a service like Spotify (because it has a free ad-supported tier) lets anyone share and listen to music which helps artists spread their fan base, ultimately making them more money.
In this era, sharing music wants to be frictionless, which means easy and quick sharing. Without having a freemium (free to premium) offering, sharing becomes hard unless everyone is on the same service. For example with Beats Music, sharing music with non-subscribers is useless — they cannot listen through Beats.
In Ron Pope’s words:
“Check this song out on Spotify!” There’s very little barrier to entry; James doesn’t have to pay for a download or for a subscription in order to hear my song. He clicks a button and boom, my entire catalog is available at his fingertips.
Underestimating the necessity for frictionless sharing of music might be the difference between success and failure for the young streaming services.