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Published on January 30th, 2013 | by Alan Cross

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Music Streaming Up, Royalties Down

This is the issue around music streaming services that seems to be flummoxing everyone.  There’s no quest that streaming is big and getting bigger.  The problem is that artists are seeing their royalties dry up.  The New York Times reports:

Like plenty of music fans, Sam Broe jumped at the chance to join Spotify two summers ago, and he hasn’t looked back.

Spotify, which began streaming music in Sweden in 2008, lets users choose from millions of songs over the Internet free or by subscription, and is increasingly seen as representing the future of music consumption. Mr. Broe, a 26-year-old from Brooklyn, said that having all that music at his fingertips helped him trim his monthly music budget from $30 to the $10 fee he pays for Spotify’s premium service.

“The only time I download anything on iTunes is in the rare case that I can’t find it on Spotify,” he said.

A decade after Apple revolutionized the music world with its iTunes store, the music industry is undergoing another, even more radical, digital transformation as listeners begin to move from CDs and downloads to streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and YouTube.

As purveyors of legally licensed music, they have been largely welcomed by an industry still buffeted by piracy. But as the companies behind these digital services swell into multibillion-dollar enterprises, the relative trickle of money that has made its way to artists is causing anxiety at every level of the business. 

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



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