My loyal reader will be familiar with my obsessive insistence to buy new music, as opposed to stealing new music. For information, I regard streaming music, which is perfectly legal, as stealing, which isn’t. I do understand the apparent contradiction in what I have written. I suspect I am railing against the dying of the light in an age where people want everything for nothing. I’m not going to stop, though.
I read a tweet a few months ago where the great David Crosby, he of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, set out in black and white just how much money he was making from the various streaming companies. It is not surprising that at the age of 77 he is still on the road because it is the only way he can make money. A million plays on streaming sites earned him a pathetic $5 last year.
Things are different these days. The nearest we got to streaming when I was a kid was taping the charts off Radio One and given it was next to impossible to avoid recording the DJ talking through the intro and before the end the finished product was a pain in the arse to listen to. In any event, I always bought music as well as listening to the radio. I like to own my music.
As I have already noted, no one wants to pay for anything these days. As well as music, countless thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, choose not to pay exorbitant fees to Sky, BT and Virgin to watch their sports channels and get their fix from illegal sites. This is partly down to the prices charged by TV companies and it’s more than partly down to people not wanting to pay anything at all.
Crosby is not the only artist who is out on the road far more than he ought to be for a man of his age. In fact, artists of all ages are out and about because that’s where the money is. And for Premier League artists, there’s a lot of money, too. That’s part of the problem.
Less famous and younger artists have greater problems than ever. Where the giants can rake in plenty of dough through live shows, smaller acts can neither make money through making music or playing it life. You would be surprised just how many bands these days also have proper day jobs.
By stealing music, we are effectively narrowing the choice of music we can listen to in the long term and live shows will be more of the touring jukebox type than anything vaguely cutting edge. That’s fine for the baby boomers who like things like they used to be and don’t like anything new. For people, especially young and talented artists, it’s a disaster.