There’s no question that music has evolved with the digital age. We have an abundance of music streaming services, as well as music tech services. Despite the rise in streaming, we’ve still seen artists do well in regards to record sales — albeit, it’s typically the artists we expect to do well: the superstars. But the sales aren’t nearly as good as they used to be. First, we blamed it on pirating music. Now, we believe it’s due to music streaming.
I honestly believe that there is a way to make both streaming music and buying music work. With the rise in platforms such as Bandcamp, we’ve seen that this is in fact possible. What if, on iTunes, you could stream a full song and then purchase it? I’ve recently been buying more music from Bandcamp because of this reason. It’s convenient to have it all in one place. It’s also a plus that artists get a larger portion of the money. With services like Spotify and iTunes, they only do one or the other, not both. Personally, I pay $5 per month for Spotify (thanks to their student discount) because I use the service enough to want to listen without having ads. Maybe I’m one of the few exceptions to the rule, but I stream and buy music. I may not buy everything I stream, but if I really enjoy an artist, I will support them through purchasing a digital album or merch. In some cases, I will even purchase vinyl, which has had a resurgence lately.
Bandcamp seems to have it all figured out. The only downside is that major labels and their artists don’t use it. That’s fine for those of us who enjoy listening to bands on smaller, independent labels or even unsigned acts. But if iTunes or Spotify employ the same concept on a larger scale, buying and streaming music could go hand in hand. Is this what we’ll see with Apple’s acquisition of Beats? We’ll just have to wait and see.