Cracker Guitarist: This Is the Real Problem With Streaming Music Services


The debate about how streaming music services are affecting the music industry is often framed as “artists against streaming services.” But the issue is more nuanced than that.

Taylor Swift recently brought attention to the problem when she wrote a blog post and convinced Apple to reverse its policy and pay artists during the free trial of its new streaming service Apple Music. I agree with Swift. It’s not that I’m against streaming music services—I think they can actually be beneficial to many artists. But I do have an issue with those that offer a free tier of services that pay artists so much less than their subscription version.

Apple Music wasn’t going to pay artists at all for the free trial. But even when services do pay, there’s a huge discrepancy between the free tier and the subscription tier. Rates are split between artists, labels and other players. By…

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