Editorial: Resonate Co-op, Ethical, Artist-Friendly Streaming
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.