Jordan Espinoza, Metro State University, 4/4/2019
If you download music illegally, then the artist doesn’t make all the money that they should have. This is a true fact. Some would argue that downloading music for free, makes it harder for new artists to make money. Some would argue that downloading music for free will destroy the music industry.
If all this is true, how do sites like soundcloud and youtube exist. Until recent years, these sites would not pay artists for their streams. Still, you don’t see major artist asking for their music to be pulled from these sites. Some artist, like Chance The Rapper, make their career capitalizing off of free streaming sites.
I would like to make the argument that downloading music for free does not hurt the artist as much as it hurts the record company. An artist can make only a fraction of a penny on each stream. This can add up over time, but there is not serious cash to made unless you are a very well established artist. Even then, the money you make from streams is not enough to fund a music career. The real money is made from shows. Show money is what artist eat off of.
Downloading music, be it legal or illegal, only is proof of the popularity an artist has. If an artist is in the position where they’re being seriously affected by lost streams, then they have a great problem on their hands. They are popular enough for people to want to listen to their music! If you find yourself in this position, congratulations! This means you have fans. If you have fans then guess what? It is time for a tour, or at the very least a couple club gigs.
To put this in context let’s look at the biggest artist in the world, Drake. From his massive 10 billion spotify streams, he has pulled in an impressive 60 million dollars. In comparison, a 43-date tour run grossed $79 million dollars for the artist. In one tour, Drake generated close to 20 million dollars more than his entire spotify career. Think if he went on a tour every year? His financial career is not dependent on steam, but rather his tour dates. This same idea can be applied to artists at all levels.