First you have to think there’s a problem with them, which Lowery, the preeminent musicians’ advocate when it comes to streaming royalties, definitely does. Lowery has documented his own income from streaming services, accruing some hero-worship among musicians and criticism from other observers. In a recent Salon interview, Lowery targets compulsory licensing as a wrecking ball of fair business modeling for Internet radio of all types.
Compulsory licenses are regulated by the U.S. government and contain some complexity. Basically, they enable any new business to build a library of music recordings, and pay statutory royalties for webcasting them. Lowery says that eliminating the compulsories would un-flatten the music market: “The entire webcasting/streaming compulsory licensing thing was a subsidy designed to jump-start a webcasting and streaming business, which happens to mostly be based in Silicon Valley again. So we’re now subsidizing one of the richest segments of this economy that doesn’t need a subsidy anymore.” [Here is the interview.]
Give the gift of 20-million songs
That’s a clever concept, and Eliot Van Buskirk makes it real on Evolver. He collected the subscription gift-giving options he found among streaming music platforms — Google All Access, MOG/Beats, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Spotify.