I would like to talk to you about streaming and my experiences regarding this.
I released my debut album in 2012 with EmuBands. With EmuBands thankfully you can choose where you can sell your product and if you would like to use the streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer.
Initially I agreed to sell it everywhere, even for my album to be streamed as I believed the spiel you are given, i.e. 'this will help raise your profile'. So my album was available globally to every download site.
When receiving my royalty statements, I noticed the statement showed a huge long list of streams via Spotify, this to me was a success regarding raising awareness. However on further investigation, the payment I had earned was a very tiny amount, I was only being paid less than 1p per stream.
Is this what all my hard work was worth? I have 9 songs on my debut album, so my album is only worth less than 9p in total?
I immediately challenged this with EmuBands, who told me that they could not do anything about this other than deleting my album off Spotify.
So I agreed to take my album off Spotify and also to check each website to make sure they were not streaming my songs for less than 1p each.
Recently I checked Amazon MP3 to read the feedback from customers. To my horror, Amazon have decided to sell my album for free if you sign up to their Amazon Prime.
I challenged this with EmuBands and I received the same reply stating that they can not do anything other than pull my album from Amazon altogether.
Is this what music is generally worth in the eyes of these large corporations?
I am left with a dilemma. If I pull my album from Amazon MP3 then customers will no longer be able to buy my debut, as there is no option for the musician to choose to opt out of the streaming and/or giving your music away for free on Amazon Prime.
Apple are doing the same with people's hard work with their Apple Music. Bands like U2 are doing music absolutely no favours by giving away their album for free via Apple, this is devaluing music in the eyes of the consumer and encouraging many to take music for granted. U2 can afford to do this kind of publicity stunt but they are not seeing the full picture and consequences of their actions.
All these large companies say they are paying the artist but realistically they are not, as they are giving less than 1p per song streamed.
Would you go to work for less than 1p per hour for example? Or work for over 1 year on a project, only to be told you are not getting paid and for another company to make a healthy profit from you?
This needs to stop. In my opinion the only way this can stop is for customers to stop using these services and to truly support music by actually buying the song and albums, then these companies will stop using music as a cheap carrot to get your money. Most of the money you are giving is not filtering its way to the artist and smaller artists are suffering because of this situation.
Do you actually care if the money you are giving to subscribe to these services is not actually going to the musicians who are the ones who create the entertainment for these companies to exploit?
My EP, which was released this year, called Synthetic Emotion is distributed by Spinnup. As a distributor they give you absolutely no options to opt out of any download site.
I searched for days to find a distributor who gave you options, but this is something that is very rare.
The reason why I decided to sign up to them is because they came highly recommended and reliable as a distributor, plus they have scouts who you can contact directly.
The agreement only lasts for 1 year at a time, so I have decided my EP is now only available until July 2016, then it will no longer be for sale from download sites.
Until these companies start to appreciate music, I am personally reluctant to release any other product with them. I have found that EmuBands is the only distributor who gives you the option, however not everything is under your control. I've heard too many "sorry we can't" from this distributor, so unless you don't mind giving your music away for free, then selling your music directly from your own website is the best way of earning from all your hard work.
So to give this blog a happy conclusion, I am going to sell my next album (due for release in 2016) directly from my website.
Thank you for reading this blog. I look forward to reading your comments :)
P.s. There is a competition in October's newsletter (Issue 6) to win the only hardcopy of my debut album. You need to subscribe to the mailing list to be in with a chance on getting your hands on this.
"Gritty and engaging synth pop" The Electricity Club - March 2018
"A one woman electronic powerhouse" Electronic Sound Magazine