Recording music has never been easier. The distribution cost is ZERO*. Advertising has never been cheaper. On top of that the MMA (Music Modernization Act) is around the corner. Dear music industry friends, go ALL In – NOW!
I remember my first encounter with the mp3. I was in my early teens and one of my classmates big brother showed us how easy it was to find and download songs, for free! I was shocked. I went straight home that day and searched for as many songs I could possibly find and eventually I also made mp3’s out of every album we had in our CD collection. Despite that the Napster-era was probably one of the most lawbreaking moments in music history, with a whole generation simultaneously violating every aspect of the “All Rights Reserved”, it was still a groundbreaking moment in time where the indication was extremely clear: we want to consume music in an easier way, and we don’t want to pay for it.
When Napster and all those similar file-sharing programs slowly faded away and eventually died, Spotify wasn’t there the next day to replace it. At least not for me. Me and my friends were still young, and we didn’t have the money to consume music the same way as we did with Napster. What I do know for sure is that we didn’t go back to the non existing CD stores and bought CD’s. To be honest, I can’t recall that we listened to any new music at all during that time… The day finally came when I had my own Spotify account. For those of you who remember, you needed to get an invite from another Spotify user. For a while, having a bunch of Spotify invitations to spare made you the most popular dude in school.
Finally something that was completely free (If you could live with ads interrupting your songs) and legal at the same time. Eventually we all got so tired of the ads interrupting and decided to give Spotify our credit card details and make us members of the “Mega Super VIP Premium Club”. For less than what ONE album used to cost, we now had monthly access to all the music in the world – in our pockets.
Fast forward a couple of years. Here we are. Just as much as Spotify appears to be the saviour of the world and true hero of the music industry, the reality is slightly different. To simplify it.
1. Spotify makes a LOT of money but they are not making any profit
2. The copyright owners (songwriters & publishers) haven’t been paid what they legally should.
To be fair, it’s a bit more complicated than that simply because applying all the old rules on a new digital format just won’t work. So I’m blaming everyone and no one at the same time. The good news is, the solution is coming… The MMA (Music Modernization Act) is just around the corner. What the MMA basically does is forcing the streaming services to increase the pay-outs to the copyright owners, which will lead to an significally higher income as a songwriter/publisher. We’re talking around 40% increase til year 2022! This is truly revolutionary! The bad news is, unless Spotify rapidly increases the amount of premium subscribers and/or advertising income, the MMA might break them in the long run….
For us as music creators on the other hand, all I can say is congratulations! You just won the jackpot! With a laptop, a decent sound card and a couple of dollars spent on Facebook advertising you can now rule the world. I just wish that everyone knew how easy is actually is to make a living off your music. Especially now!
Just like most of you, I’ve also had my doubts. Many friends in the music industry gave up a couple of years ago, simply because it was too hard to make a living. So trust me, I know how you feel. But trust me when I say, what’s coming around the corner is amazing. I’m going ALL IN, and so should you!
CEO, Eleven B Studios