The Death of the Record

The Death of the Record

If you look hard enough, you will find dusty record players, stashed in attics and crawl spaces, hidden and from a world that has lost interest in them. CD and cassette players face a similar fate; imminent death. The age of the Internet has given music fans access to limitless tunes, through music platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube Music. But while listeners sit, jamming blissfully to their favorite tracks, musicians are left feeling slighted, and underpaid for their creative efforts. In 1980, millions of record sales meant millions of dollars in revenue. Today, however, monetary incentive for making music comes from other places. Spotify, perhaps the most popular of the music streaming site, pays only a fraction of a cent per stream. Artists now seek other outlets to make a living, Including merchandise sales, live shows, video streaming, and endorsement deals. Thousands of musicians, however, struggle to find financial stability, despite producing music that is enjoyed by millions. The solution, perhaps seems easy. Stop allowing streaming sites to have access to your music? Unfortunately, the sad truth is that these companies hold the cards. Without the ability to share their music on the internet, many musicians would never be listened too. As a listener and a musician, I face quite the dilemma. The ability to stream is a fantastic luxury, one that I am enjoying now even as I write this post. On the other hand, my music, while popular online, provides me with little financial reward. To finance recording, I must play many live shows a month. The struggle between the music industry, and those who lie behind the streaming cooperations, will continue to occur. One can only hope that the death of the record, does not foreshadow the death of musicians all over the world.


Daniel Mathis

Daniel Mathis

January 20, 2018at 8:11 pm

I’m not very familiar with the music industry, but this post intrigued me because it’s basically an economics problem: how do scattered music creators gain leverage over companies like Spotify?

One way I see music creators gain control over their own fate is through making a popular youtube channel, although I imagine then the issue becomes youtube taking too much of the share of the revenue. Without detailed knowledge of the industry I don’t have a ready answer.

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