There’s No Single Music Business Anymore

Casey Rae's "Room for Debate" Op-Ed in the New York Times talks about the challenges and opportunities of the current music streaming model:

It’s important to remember that there has never been a single business for music. Why should we expect the digital era to be one-size-fits all? Taylor Swift and her label have the goal of “moving units," and that’s fine for her. Other artists just want to pay for gas to the next gig. And some artists don’t tour at all. We should consider which business models give the broadest swath of creators an opportunity to reach fans and earn a living. Easier said than done.

But there is an opportunity to improve on the existing streaming models, including — but not limited to — direct payment to creators under equitable splits, premium tiers for super fans and purchase-to-unlock incentives. It would be great if music licensing laws allowed for more services to compete on how well they serve artists and fans. That way, we can have our heads in the clouds with our feet firmly planted on the ground.