Back then, an artist's paycheck (separate from live shows) was determined by pure album sales, through CDs, vinyls, tapes, physical copies of the music they produced. The digital age has completely changed that. Now artists don't always send out physical copies of their music, and if they do it's only if they expect to turn a profit off of it. Streaming has become the new primary way for artists to put music out into the world. And commercially, it is not kind to creators as much as it is to the streaming services themselves. Check out this chart of how many streams an artist would need on each service to earn just 1 dollar.
Considering that streaming services do little more than act as a middleman between artist and listener, they seem to drag their feet a lot when it comes to artists being able to fairly profit off of work they put their blood, sweat, and tears into. You'd have to be a platinum-selling artist to break even on your work, a Drake, Ariana Grande, Eminem type to be able to get rich off of it.
Tidal, acquired by Jay-Z in 2015, promised to be an ethical streaming service owned and managed by artists, but it feels more like symbolic change rather than a revolutionary one. Tidal's artist co-owners are, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, deadmau5, J.Cole, Jack White, Indochine, Damian Marley, Daft Punk (when they were active), Jason Aldean, Calvin Harris, Lil Wayne, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, T.I., Usher, Arcade Fire's Win Butler & Regine Chassagne, and Coldplay's Chris Martin. These artists ideally will steer the direction of Tidal's policies and uplift up and coming artists who may not traditionally have as good of a chance at breaking out through the algorithms of a Spotify or Apple Music. But these artists are still private owners, overseeing smaller workers, and it would still take 185 streams on Tidal for an artist to earn $1.
But that's just the way it is, right? Comes with the territory, streaming services have to take something to be able to survive, right? Wrong. What if I told you that there is a streaming service that would pay an artist after just 9 streams of a song?
Resonate Co-op aims to be the revolutionary solution to this exploitation issue. It is a fully cooperative streaming service. Meaning everyone who works there is an equal-share owner. That includes the people working for the company, and the artists, and the listeners are much more directly tied to the economic futures of the artists.
How does pricing work, you might ask, well don't listen to me, here's what their website has to say.
There are no corporate boogeymen desperate to squeeze more money out of the artists on their service. The artists are the service. If you decide to place your music on Resonate, you not only get paid much more fairly, you have the ability to affect the development and direction of the service itself, whereas if you put your music on Spotify, you have virtually no power in the decisions Spotify makes going forward.
This is the perfect way for indie artists to prosper and gain experience in the management of a music service, invaluable knowledge in an industry that requires expertise in creativity as well as business. The only issue with Resonate is that more people don't know about it. You may not find streaming darling artists like Taylor Swift buying into Resonate yet, but anyone concerned about how their music will be able to keep them afloat in years to come should definitely check them out and join the team. Comedian, rapper, and frequent Kenny Beats collaborator Zack Fox has been very public about his support for Resonate, and how it has helped artists like him take power back from greedy corporations who care about commercial value more than anything else.
So if you are passionate about music at all, join Resonate and be part of a community-owned service, and make streaming a profound and elevating experience for both listener and artist.
By supporting indie artists worldwide and even having the power to change the music industry as we know it, the MSQ Shop definitely approves of Resonate's egalitarian business model.
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Get more info on Resonate's website here.