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A Lark Ascending

Is streaming technology saving the music industry?

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Whether we like it or not, the streaming is the (near) future of how vast majority of the music is to be consumed. Vinyl might still survive (and there has been a certain resurgence of vinyl in the last few years, as I understand), but downloads and CDs will be probably gone very soon as the streaming technology (for mobiles, in particular) develops further. Spotify has more than 10M paying customers already (and growing), so with their 70% royalty pay-off rate they will pay more than $1B in royalty fees this year. This is a lot of money, and if artists negotiate better deals with labels (or better, disintermediate them entirely), they would receive a large share of it.

I don't see downloads going anywhere any time soon. Even young folks still like to own copies of their favorite tunes. They may eventually go away, but I'd be willing to bet that is still another generation away.

From Spotify's website, this is how much the artist gets per stream on Spotify:

"Recently, these variables have led to an average per stream payout to rights holders of between $0.006 and $0.0084. This combines activity across our tiers of service. The effective average per stream payout generated by our Premium subscribers is considerably higher."

I think that pretty much leaves out any jazz or classical artists making more than a few CENTS, if they're lucky.

I don't know ONE jazz musician who makes a living from ONLY playing music today.

I really don't get the idea that just because someone plays jazz they are entitled to earn a living from it It's a common music and tens of thousands of people can play it. Same for singer/songwriters. There are probably millions who play sing and write but - here's the thing - it isn't streaming (or Andorrans) who are preventing them from making a living. Of course millions of people would love to make a living from their art, poetry, novels, music, etc. It's a market, and - dare I add - not everyone offers a superlative product.

If it's that easy, you try to do it.

Huh? Where did he say anything about it being easy?

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Whether we like it or not, the streaming is the (near) future of how vast majority of the music is to be consumed. Vinyl might still survive (and there has been a certain resurgence of vinyl in the last few years, as I understand), but downloads and CDs will be probably gone very soon as the streaming technology (for mobiles, in particular) develops further. Spotify has more than 10M paying customers already (and growing), so with their 70% royalty pay-off rate they will pay more than $1B in royalty fees this year. This is a lot of money, and if artists negotiate better deals with labels (or better, disintermediate them entirely), they would receive a large share of it.

I don't see downloads going anywhere any time soon. Even young folks still like to own copies of their favorite tunes. They may eventually go away, but I'd be willing to bet that is still another generation away.

Well, let's see. I think it's a matter of five years, maybe less. When everybody is permanently online with high-speed internet connection available everywhere there won't be much need to own downloads.

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In fact I didn't say it was easy, just common. There are over 100 university or college jazz programs in the US. If each of those had yielded ten graduates each year for ten years that would give you 10,000 jazz musicians. The numbers are certainly much larger, there are many other routes to playing jazz, and that is only one country.

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Well, let's see. I think it's a matter of five years, maybe less. When everybody is permanently online with high-speed internet connection available everywhere there won't be much need to own downloads.

Oh no, there is absolutely no way that will happen.

You are forgetting THE key factor in what you are predicting: data costs money. And lots of it compared to having your own copies that you can download to phone/music player. And the high speed internet everywhere thing is a lot further down the road than five years. And even then, it won't be free. And just as with data now, there will be caps.

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Data costs very little money where I live, and it is getting cheaper by the day. But, to be fair, Austria has some of the lowest mobile internet prices in Europe, as well as some of the highest penetration of high-speed internet.

No point discussing it further, we'll see (very) soon. I guess we can agree that it is moving in this direction.

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Data costs very little money where I live, and it is getting cheaper by the day. But, to be fair, Austria has some of the lowest mobile internet prices in Europe, as well as some of the highest penetration of high-speed internet.

No point discussing it further, we'll see (very) soon. I guess we can agree that it is moving in this direction.

Data is very expensive in the U.S.

And comparing Austria to the U.S. is impossible to do since Austria is about as large as South Carolina, which is our 40th largest state.

That makes for a logistical nightmare.

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Data costs very little money where I live, and it is getting cheaper by the day. But, to be fair, Austria has some of the lowest mobile internet prices in Europe, as well as some of the highest penetration of high-speed internet.

No point discussing it further, we'll see (very) soon. I guess we can agree that it is moving in this direction.

Data is very expensive in the U.S.

And comparing Austria to the U.S. is impossible to do since Austria is about as large as South Carolina, which is our 40th largest state.

That makes for a logistical nightmare.

OK, what I was saying is that data costs are decreasing dramatically everywhere, in some countries this happens a bit faster, on some slower, but it is happening, and it is inevitable.

Actually, I thought that in the US music streaming services have contracts with mobile operators (Spotify just got one with Sprint), so streaming music through your phone does not even count towards your data plan. Ain't happening here in South Carolina, Austria.

I'm not talking about "common jazz musicians", I'm talking about the best of the best. Musicians whose CDs you probably own, and probably have seen playing in concert or at a club.

I can believe that in Vienna, there are some musicians who can make a living playing music (not necessarily jazz), because the mania to replace live music with technology is not as prevalent in Europe as it is in the US,

Very true. Live music is used even for some of the most insignificant social occasions here (might be to an extent due to abundance of competent and versatile musicians who charge low fees).

Edited by Д.Д.

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As far as I know there are no such contracts available here. The experience here is completely opposite of what you are experiencing over there. Not only are data rates not going down, but the major carriers have stopped offering unlimited data planst . And not only do you pay through the nose for overages, but most companies will throttle your speeds back once you reach a certain threshold. Streaming over the air will destroy data limits in short order, and then things get incredibly expensive.

Taking the experience I have over here into account, you should at least understand why we are so far apart in our opinions.

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Data costs very little money where I live, and it is getting cheaper by the day. But, to be fair, Austria has some of the lowest mobile internet prices in Europe, as well as some of the highest penetration of high-speed internet.

No point discussing it further, we'll see (very) soon. I guess we can agree that it is moving in this direction.

Data is very expensive in the U.S.

And comparing Austria to the U.S. is impossible to do since Austria is about as large as South Carolina, which is our 40th largest state.

That makes for a logistical nightmare.

OK, what I was saying is that data costs are decreasing dramatically everywhere, in some countries this happens a bit faster, on some slower, but it is happening, and it is inevitable.

Actually, I thought that in the US music streaming services have contracts with mobile operators (Spotify just got one with Sprint), so streaming music through your phone does not even count towards your data plan. Ain't happening here in South Carolina, Austria.

I'm not talking about "common jazz musicians", I'm talking about the best of the best. Musicians whose CDs you probably own, and probably have seen playing in concert or at a club.

I can believe that in Vienna, there are some musicians who can make a living playing music (not necessarily jazz), because the mania to replace live music with technology is not as prevalent in Europe as it is in the US,

Very true. Live music is used even for some of the most insignificant social occasions here (might be to an extent due to abundance of competent and versatile musicians who charge low fees).

I'm takin' me the first flight outta here to Austria! :rlol

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Musicians I know who have major label deals seem to be at the level that they can make a living from music. I know many people who have issued or who feature on CDs but that is not in itself a measure. Just because you have recorded some music does not mean you are entitled to make a living from it, any more than if you publish a book of poetry. As far as opportunities to play in the US goes, I've a feeling it depends where you are. These things find their own level. If people don't want it they don't. The impression I have from Downbeat is that jazz is mainly of interest only to practitioners. I think that's the limiting factor, not really anything else.

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Data costs very little money where I live, and it is getting cheaper by the day. But, to be fair, Austria has some of the lowest mobile internet prices in Europe, as well as some of the highest penetration of high-speed internet.

No point discussing it further, we'll see (very) soon. I guess we can agree that it is moving in this direction.

Data is very expensive in the U.S.

And comparing Austria to the U.S. is impossible to do since Austria is about as large as South Carolina, which is our 40th largest state.

That makes for a logistical nightmare.

OK, what I was saying is that data costs are decreasing dramatically everywhere, in some countries this happens a bit faster, on some slower, but it is happening, and it is inevitable.

Actually, I thought that in the US music streaming services have contracts with mobile operators (Spotify just got one with Sprint), so streaming music through your phone does not even count towards your data plan. Ain't happening here in South Carolina, Austria.

I'm not talking about "common jazz musicians", I'm talking about the best of the best. Musicians whose CDs you probably own, and probably have seen playing in concert or at a club.

I can believe that in Vienna, there are some musicians who can make a living playing music (not necessarily jazz), because the mania to replace live music with technology is not as prevalent in Europe as it is in the US,

Very true. Live music is used even for some of the most insignificant social occasions here (might be to an extent due to abundance of competent and versatile musicians who charge low fees).

I'm takin' me the first flight outta here to Austria! :rlol

Your employment opportunities here would also depend on what instrument you play; my understanding is that bassists and drummers are in highest demand ( and tough luck if you are a keyboards player :) ). Also, schmoozing skills (and language knowledge) would matter. My friend takes a lot of shitty jobs because it is an opportunity to meet people who would give him better ones, and also he says that once you start refusing gigs you would very soon find yourself without any offers at all. Ha plays literally everything - weddings, funerals, theater, parties, hotel lounges, political party gatherings, corporate events - you name it - with anybody. This gives him enough money (but not enough time) to maintain his own trio where he plays his own stuff.

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I have been streaming Spotify Premium over the air for over two (three?) years now. At first on an unlimited data plan, then a shared 10GB data plan. I have never gone above 8GB in any given month, and that includes streaming XM radio, a data hog.

At home I listen to CD, LP, and some Spotify etc over wifi.

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I really don't know. I drive most of the day, and even stream to my phone at my desk on occasion (no wifi). ATT sends me a text message to let me know I'm 60% to my monthly allotted data. I usually receive that message about four days before end of cycle.

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That's cool. I've done some of those data calculators online, and since I only have a 3GB plan I've always shied away from streaming. But for some reason I thought when I added everything up it came to way more.

I just did another one and I could safely surf the intertubes for 50 hours a month, AND stream music for 50 hours a month without hitting my cap.

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I have a preservationist view of downloads; I am hoping that actual CDs will last longer than hard drives or other means of storage.

also, when it comes to VERY old music, the streaming sites I see are pretty indiscriminate in what they use as source material. This is, I think, a huge problem. It's like going on line and downloading a washed-out print of Picasso.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Hard drive storage is cheap as hell, and redundancy is FAR easier to achieve with it over CD. Just hook up a HDD, start transferring and go play a round of golf. It'll all be over before you get back home.

Now, let's see you make copies of a thousand+ CD's that way.

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Although I have had paid for a subscription to Rhapsody for several years, I rarely use it. I know I am wasteing money, but I like the idea of it generally - especially as a tool to audition recordings before purchase, or if I was not such an obsessed collector to cut down on my actual purchases - if I limited my purchases to recordings that are not available on Rhapsody. Anyway, when reading about the data issues, one of the things I think is good about my plan on Rhapsody is that I can download recordings to my phone that can be played without streaming. That way, if I use Rhapsody on my phone where no wifi is available (such as at my job where streaming sites are blocked), I can still listen to the recordings. I have quite a few recordings downloaded to my phone. Of course, I still have the problem that I do not utilize Rhapsody as much as I should and the recordings downloaded to my phone have a similar fate to the piles of physical CDs piling up around my home.

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That's a good point, and I think you're using it the exact same way most folks of our generation do.

Which brings up an interesting question that I'll put out there for everyone because I honestly have no idea what the answer is.

OK, so Mr. Lyles forego's streaming, and instead downloads said track. For sake of argument, let's just say the track is 6 MB (bitrate be damned). He just chewed up 6 MB of his data plan.

Now, if he were to stream the track instead, would it still end up being 6 MB in the end?

On the surface it seems a silly question, but what about buffers and the like? Buffers loading would also use data, would they not? Or would they simply be a place holder like when your download temporarily stops?

Same thing?

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For clarification, I do not use my data plan when I download a recording to my phone. Instead I do it from my wifi network at home. When home I will stream from my desktop computer, but that obviously does not impact my data plan either.

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I'm actually in the process of transferring about 1000 lps to digital as something of a public service - but also so I can have access to them more easily; there are MANY LPs that were made from sound sources superior to what was put on CD. And once these are gone they are gone. It's more than preservation - some of the sound on these LP sources is astounding, going back to the '20s on major lables like Odeon, EMI, Victor, MCA/DECCA. etc. Properly transferred and eq'd (and the mastering eq is mediocre on nearly all of these) they are a delight to listen to. Back when I made about 1/3 of my living transferring LPs to CD for people, they were usually quite pleased with the results.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Properly transferred and eq'd (and the eq is mediocre on nearly all of these) they are a delight to listen to. Back when I made about 1/3 of my living transferring LPs to CD for people, they were usually quite pleased with the results.

is that to say that you could see yourself preferring to hear this material digitally vs physically....?

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well, in most cases the digital re-mastering I did sounded better than the original. But it was still on physical media - CDR.

I prefer doing everything in real time; it reduces errors and forces me to be a bit more careful.

Edited by AllenLowe

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For clarification, I do not use my data plan when I download a recording to my phone. Instead I do it from my wifi network at home. When home I will stream from my desktop computer, but that obviously does not impact my data plan either.

Thank you for the clarification. I got a different message from your previous post.

Though my question does still stand.

well, in most cases the digital re-mastering I did sounded better than the original. But it was still on physical media - CDR.

I prefer doing everything in real time; it reduces errors and forces me to be a bit more careful.

But you didn't answer his question, Allen.

Did the media itself make a difference? I would have to think it didn't. The mastering, no matter the format, should sound the same.

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oh, I getcha now. No, as long as the transfer was lossless and it was saved/replayed as a wave.

I have no problem with putting it on hard drive; I've just had more hard drives fail than CDRs.

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