With the tour stalling for the foreseeable future, 2020 has become the most difficult year for musicians in recent times. The ability to survive with music naturally depends on a variety of factors, including things like audience, reach, and how their fans access their output.
The world of recorded music has been a mixed bag throughout the pandemic. New industry figures from the Recording Industry Association of America this week show that recorded music revenue actually increased in the first half of 2020, not surprisingly due to the growth in music streaming.
As far more people are looking for novel entertainment methods, subscriptions are paid for (Spotify, Apple Music et al.) Are up 24% year over year. Income from streaming music increased 1
Physical sales of CDs and vinyl hit an already rocky foundation massively, declining 23% over that period. Streaming now accounts for 85% of all US revenue, with physical revenue down to just 7% – just a little more than the 6% generated by digital downloads. Given the difficulty many more independent artists have faced in monetizing streaming, this is a disturbing number.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek was met with comments from the industry about streaming revenue. “There’s a narrative fallacy here, coupled with the fact that some artists who used to do well are obviously not doing well in this future landscape where you can’t record and reflect every three to four years. That will be enough.” said the managing director in a recent interview.
The comments came because many musicians struggled to keep their heads above water during a prolonged break from touring. They’re also coming because the streaming service has continued to pump money into acquisitions to grow its podcasting presence.