Keeping it on the download…

Well this is just great. I commit to this big fancy project, set up a whizz-bang new blog, announce to the literally several interested people my intention to release music for download, when this story breaks. Apparently nobody downloads music any more. Yep, Rolling Stone magazine has just run a story entitled “Streaming is king as downloads fade away”. Well thank you very much.

It’s no surprise, I guess, that the popularity of services like Spotify and Youtube is exploding- for the consumer, it’s a great deal. In fact, even though artists are paid a pittance by these outlets, I know many musicians who have signed up, although they won’t admit it. Every day they wait for their wives or husbands to go out, draw the blinds, turn off the lights and start furiously streaming. They just can’t help themselves.

Streams: popular
Streams: popular

Although a stream seems like the obvious place for a project called Catch and Release, I’m not doing it. When I upload tracks to CD Baby, who organise my digital distribution, I’m offered these options: Sale through CD Baby only; Downloadable through iTunes/Amazon; Downloadable plus “paid” streaming (Spotify, etc); or “Everything” (give it to anyone who asks). I pick Downloadable. I have no real issue with the concept of subscription music services- in fact it’s a great idea. But if this little venture is going to come even close to breaking even, I need to sell these babies. (I’m talking about the tracks, not actual babies. It hasn’t come to that yet.)

What about you? Where do you get your music? Let me know in the comments (no judging!)

In related news, Taylor Swift just wrote an overwhelmingly upbeat editorial in the Wall Street Journal, declaring that “the music industry is not dying… it’s just coming alive.” Her relentless optimism may be influenced by the fact that she earned 64 million dollars in the last 12 months. I’ll be lucky to earn half that.

Here’s Swift’s article (she makes some decent points, actually):

And the aforementioned Rolling Stone piece:

Cheers, Nick

6 thoughts on “Keeping it on the download…

  1. I’m not sure if that’s the same Swift who wrote the piece about eating Irish babies during the potato famine….probly the same family. I heard that vynil is now the thing. That way you could release 2 tracks at a time and have them on our turntables (and online) in the fart of a baby’s bum. Your helpful and VERY aged parent. Oh and by the way, vinyl gives the best sound quality….Your less helpful and MORE aged P.


  2. I made the switch to streaming this year. It suits me extremely well. However, I am “bipolar” in the sense that in parallel I still build my record collection with rippings from purchased CDs.


    1. Yes, I’ve been gradually ripping my CD collection too. Did you see Payton’s recent rant about Spotify? He seems to advocate using streaming services to listen to albums you’ve already bought, which seems to me to defeat the purpose…


      1. No, have not seen Payton’s stuff, but find it difficult to understand why streaming music I have bought. Quality would mostly be worse, it costs twice – not sure.

        Swiss National radio run a very interesting show on the state of the music industry in times of streaming services. They showed figures on how much musicians get from spotify and other services, but also from being played on the radio. Very interesting, but with shockingly low figures.

        But the conclusion, drawn also by the involved musicians, was, that times are not worse now.


  3. Excellent post! I don’t do any streaming – I am totally against it, although I understand why people do it. I just can’t stand those tiny royalty checks from Spotify (Pandora pays better). I really want to do a vinyl release next, but I wonder what the profit ratio is in relation to production? We’ll have to explore that.


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