Which brings us back to THE central question here: how can streaming music help new artists make a living? Pink Floyd and Jay-Z will be fine. The Eagles aren’t losing any sleep over bank overdrafts. Paul McCartney has nothing to fear from the UK’s new bedroom tax for housing benefit. They’re all set.
How can Spotify ensure the next Pink Floyd and Jay-Z don’t give up before even recording their The Piper at the Gates of Dawn or Reasonable Doubt, though? How can streaming services not just find an audience for talented new artists, but also help them to find those workable revenue streams?
There’s a ‘jam tomorrow’ argument to be made here, although it hasn’t washed that well so far.
As a new artist with 500-1,000 fans, what if Spotify can put you in front of 10,000 or 100,000 people whose listening habits indicate they’ll love you? Those streams will start to add up, but it depends on the streaming services being much bigger than they are now.
Greater reach may also bring greater opportunities for some of those other income streams for artists, especially if streaming services share more (anonymous, obviously) data with them on their fans – for example, to help them plan tours.
But my inkling is that the biggest way streaming services can help new artists make a living is to go further still, and become the bridge between people discovering music, and spending money with its creator elsewhere.