Over the past two decades, the music industry has seen not so much as steady decline but more of a plummet in CD sales, the competition from online piracy and a whole new way of listening to your favourite music thanks to the internet. Now it is also being polarised thanks to the influx of music streaming services.
Websites such as Deezer and Spotify offer vast catalogues which listeners can stream free of charge, albeit interspersed with advertising which you can get rid of if you pay around £10 a month. These sites have also brought much criticism however, not least from the artists over the amount of royalties they receive for their music being on these kind of service.
Thom York, the lead singer of Radiohead, went as far as removing all his solo tracks from Spotify last October saying it was the last breath from a dying corpse. There are others however, such as singer/songwriter Billy Bragg who actually view Spotify as the future of music and the industry itself. He said that saying you didn’t want you music on Spotify was like saying you didn’t want it on a cassette when CD’s came out as this was a new way of accessing music, and is the future of the music industry.
Spotify claims that it now has 24m active users, and 6m of these are paying a subscription. Mark Williams is Spotify’s artist services director, and he has had that over the last 5 years the company has paid out £611m to the rights holders of the songs they have on their service. He added that between 2009-12 they paid out $500m, yet paid out the same amount during 2013 alone.