Music streaming under fire, but soaring

November 13, 2014

, On the other side of the world, Taiwan-based KKBOX, founded before Spotify with an emphasis on Asian pop music, saw a ringing endorsement in August when Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund invested $104 million as part of its expansion plans.

And at least four streaming services are vying to take off in India, a potentially huge market.

Russ Crupnick, managing partner of research group MusicWatch Inc., said that many consumers will easily juggle multiple streaming services and not drop one because an artist — such as Taylor Swift — was not available.

While expecting more dust-ups in the future on payments and other issues, Crupnick said: “The reality is streaming is here to stay.”

Finding a payment model

Many musicians have argued that payouts are simply too small. Country star Rosanne Cash testified to the US Congress earlier this year that she earned just $114 for 600,000 streams of her songs over 18 months.

“I can tell you that I see young musicians give up their dreams every single day because they cannot make a living,” she said.

The Recording Industry Association of America said that US revenue from streaming shot up 28 percent in the first six months of 2014 compared with a year earlier, even as the industry’s overall proceeds fell.

Streaming advocates contend that a more appropriate analogy is not to album sales but to radio stations, which in the United States are not required to pay anything to performers for playing their songs.

Ek argued that album sales were down even outside the 58 countries where Spotify is present.

And the iTunes precedent shows that few artists will hold out indefinitely. The Beatles refused to put music on iTunes until late 2010.

While the foursome’s music is not on Spotify, the company last month clinched a deal to stream the solo works of John Lennon.

Part 1 | Part 2

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