NPR has launched a new series dubbed “Streaming at the Tipping Point.” This collection of articles will address both the business and cultural impact of the transition to streaming, reflecting on the changes in how we experience music.
It’s only the second day of the week-long series, but already the team has provided some very insightful analysis of the key issues. One included several interviews with a range of individuals, including industry members, about what they thought a perfect world would be for streaming.
With only a few outliers, the general consensus from typical listeners on today’s streaming was positive. Many people wanted to see better compensation for artists along with more access to liner notes and other contextual information about the songs and performers.
But the opinions changed when the query was posed to both artists and managers. The performers all voiced concerns that the real winners in the streaming economy are on the business side rather than the creative one. Respondents from labels and publishers were more optimistic about the outlook, particularly for paid streaming tiers. Some of them agreed that more transparency about the financial dealings would help streaming to get more respect as a valid choice for all parties.
NPR concluded that while there’s great potential in streaming, the disparate opinions and needs of the various players show that there’s still plenty of room for improvement. We’ve been seeing a renewed push for transparency, especially with the leaked contracts for Spotify and SoundCloud finally revealing some of the financial details that go into giving online audio platforms their legal freedom. The government also has the potential to get involved, with several streaming-adjacent topics under review across the various branches. So while, as NPR points out, there’s still a ways to go for streaming to prove its worth, that progress is happening.