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Why you SHOULD buy music and merchandise.

Over the last decade or so streaming has become the most popular way of listening to music. Though I think it’s a good thing that music is more accessible to more people, the artists behind the music don’t actually receive much money at all from streaming. For every time a song is streamed on Spotify the money it generates is $0.0032 according to The Trichordist. Then of course this money has to be shared out to many different avenues that can include the record label, publishers, producers and the artist themselves. Of course this changes depending on the artist, how popular the artist is, the record label or even if the artist is on a record label, and how the song was recorded. So even though streaming is very popular and many artists are getting hundreds and thousands of streams, it takes a lot to earn any kind of steady income from streaming alone. This means that for most artist and bands their main income comes from touring and band merchandise.

I’m not going to sit here and tell everyone to stop streaming because that wouldn’t make sense, especially considering the way the music industry is changing. I use streaming services most days, it’s how I listen to new music as soon as it comes out or discover new artists. It’s probably one of the main ways I find out about new artists. However, it is not the main way I listen to music, which may come as a surprise to some as someone from my generation where almost everyone I know, exclusively streams their music. I love to buy music, as a CD or as a vinyl record (blog post to come in the future where I talk more about this…) and support artists in any way I can, whether this be by buying writing about them on this blog, playing a song on my radio show, or going to a gig and buying a t-shirt too.

There are so many bands and artist nowadays that it’s hard to keep track, this is also why I feel that a lot more bands are ending or only releasing one album before deciding that it’s not working. I think that this is partially down to streaming and how it’s not a steady income, and also because it’s so hard to break through all the others. This came to mind today after I listened to a playlist I’d made and how two of the bands that played in a row no longer exist, and how sad that is. The message of this is that if you want to see your favorite bands survive the best way to support them is to go to a gig, buy the music physically or as a download, and buy their merchandise.

It’s funny how the industry has changed, from touring to promote an album, to now making an album to be able to tour. That’s because the most money comes from touring, and paying to see a gig. Even if it’s something local by a very small band, I encourage you to do so. Perhaps you’ll discover a new band you love. This is also a good way to keep the grassroots and independent venues running too.

Last year, While She Sleeps released a t-shirt design that addressed this matter directly, and made the design available for other bands to use too. The t-shirt reads “One t-shirt is the equivalent to 5000 streams on Spotify. 76% of music in 2019 is streamed and not bought physically or digitally. Band merchandise is the most direct way of supporting an artist.” This is a very important statement to make and I’m glad that bands are trying to create a discussion around this topic, especially ones that have been in the industry a while.

Even though streaming is here to stay, unless the value of it increases drastically over the next few years, it won’t see a lot of smaller bands or artists to survive, or even some slightly bigger bands. So, please support your favourite bands by buying a t-shirt while at their gig or buy a physical copy of an album, it really does go a long way.

The article used for streaming statistics.

While She Sleeps statement.


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