Ben Sisario of the New York Times talks with Shira Ovide about the economics of streaming music:
Haven’t many musicians always felt exploited and underpaid?
Yes, but the streaming model has exacerbated the divide between superstars and everybody else. It’s also a fallacy to dismiss musicians’ complaints. Economic inequality has been around a long time, but it still should be addressed.
What’s the solution? Can streaming ever work for everyone?
There is talk of changing the payments systems to a “user-centric model” that would allocate payments based on what people listen to. If I listen only to Herbie Hancock on Spotify, my subscription fee goes only to him, after the service takes its cut. Proponents say this system would be more fair, especially to artists in niche genres. But there have been studies that say it’s not that simple. And I wonder if it’s too late to change.
Clickbait-y title aside, that study that shows switching to a payout model based on individual listening habits sure is depressing for indie musicians.