Music Industry Faces Major Crisis as Streaming Services Fail to Generate Revenue

Karmen Santi
2 min readAug 21, 2023

--

Only 1% of 8 Million Songs Sold More Than 1,000 Copies

The music industry is in a state of crisis as streaming services fail to generate the revenue needed to sustain the industry. According to Factinate, of the 8 million songs available on streaming services, only 1% sold more than 1,000 copies. This is a major problem for the industry, as streaming services have become the primary way that people consume music.

The problem is not limited to smaller artists, either. Even major artists are struggling to make a living from streaming. In 2023, Britney Spears spoke out about her divorce, saying that it was “nobody’s business”. This came after years of Spears being under a conservatorship that many believe was unfair. The conservatorship was put in place after Spears suffered a mental breakdown in 2008, and it gave her father control over her finances and personal life. Many believe that the conservatorship was a way for the music industry to control Spears and profit from her work.

The problem with streaming services is that they pay artists very little for their work. According to Rolling Stone, streaming services pay artists an average of $0.003 per stream. This means that an artist would need to have their song streamed 333 times just to make $1. This is not a sustainable business model for the music industry.

The music industry is also facing other challenges. In 2014, Fast Company reported on a new musical form called “Black MIDI”. This form of music involves packing notes so densely that the musical score would look like a smear if it were written out. While this form of music is not yet mainstream, it is an example of how technology is changing the way that music is created and consumed.

Despite these challenges, there are still reasons to be optimistic about the future of the music industry. In 2023, Jon Batiste released a new LP called “World Music Radio”. Batiste is a jazz musician who has gained popularity in recent years, thanks in part to his work on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Batiste is an example of an artist who is able to make a living from his music, even in the age of streaming.

In conclusion, the music industry is facing a major crisis as streaming services fail to generate the revenue needed to sustain the industry. While there are still reasons to be optimistic about the future of the industry, it is clear that major changes are needed in order for artists to be able to make a living from their work.

--

--

Karmen Santi

Future Entertainment Lawyer. Current Graduate Student at Berklee College of Music