I have held off writing about the problem with streaming services and the hugely important Broken Record campaign led by Tom Gray (Gomez) as I thought there are far more qualified and important people than me writing about it. Over lockdown I have read a lot of articles about the problem with streaming services and followed the Broken Record campaign and did not want this piece just to be re-writing what others have already said. However, on reflection and considering the values of AMP magazine the more people that are writing about this and raising awareness the better. We have heard for years that streaming services are not good for artists. The whole industry has been turned upside down and inside out over recent years. Physical Sales have declined, playlists have taken over albums. Artists have been told to take a loss on album sales as you will make the money back on gigs. This has led to the over inflated prices for gigs in recent years. What we have seen thanks to Tom Gray is the need to stop, educate ourselves and try and put pressure on those that can influence change to ensure a better deal for artists. It should be quite simple really, the artist has wrote the music so surely they deserve a fair share of the money earned. Listening to Tom Gray and reading about this subject it really is frightening how the music industry has ended up here. Music has been completely devalued by streaming services. Spotify only cares about profit and ensuring their shareholders earn as much money as possible. This organisation really is not concerned about the musicians gaining their fair share of the money earned. Due to COVID musicians have had many of their revenue streams cut off. PRS earnings are going to decline due to bars, clubs, shops etc not being open therefore not paying for PRS. Lets face it as much as we are longing for gigs to return the live music scene is unlikely to return anytime soon. There is only so much musicians will have in reserve. If you are at home listening to music surely the person who wrote / recorded the music should be getting paid. Thankfully I grew up in an era where physical sales really mattered. This was how we fell in love with music. Developed a relationship with the band / artist. It meant more, saving our money to go to town on a Saturday to buy the album we had been longing for. Queuing up outside our record shops to buy the latest release from our favorite bands at midnight or 8am in the morning. Try telling that to a teenager these days, they would probably give you a very strange look. I love all the physical music I have bought, I have shelves of records and a room full of CDs at home. When I take them off the shelf the memories instantly return to the days out that were had purchasing these beautiful pieces of art. I love reading the sleeve notes, the photos, the lyrics, seeing who the artists have thanked. Having this collection is also helping my daughter form a love for physical music, she goes into the CD room and picks CD’s that she likes the look of based on the artwork. There have been previous threats to the music industry. We were told that home taping is killing music. Well that was nothing compared to what is happening now. As someone who used to sit with record and pause held down on my cassette player listening to the radio I can assure you that did not stop me from buying music. That only increased my love and romance for music. Also those artists we were recording off the radio were earning a fairer share through PRS than what they earn today from streaming services. Napster, Limewire came along and we were told that downloading was killing music, the fear this caused is ultimately what led the major record labels to panic and create these deals with streaming services. I have also read today that playlist streams are counted towards chart positions???!!!! WHAT!!!! That is ridiculous, how can that be? Those songs on a playlist weren’t chosen by the listener they were picked by an algorithm for the listener. How can that contribute towards a chart position for a piece of music. I have never really understood playlists. If I want a playlist then I will go and listen to a radio station. If I don’t want to listen to a playlist then I will put an album on. Don’t get me wrong I can’t sit here and say that I don’t use streaming services. In recent years my purchasing of physical music has had to decline as there are other priorities in life that I can’t always justify buying every physical album that I want to listen to. Although one half of AMP has always prioritised purchasing vinyl. Yet, I still and always will buy music it might not be as much as I used to but I still will spend money when I can on music. I asked my daughter (almost 8) is it fair that when we listen to music on the internet the person that made the music doesn’t really get paid? If I buy the music then they get a much fairer share and get the money straight away? Instantly a child who is almost 8 could see that it was better to buy the music. If I child has a better morale compass and can see what is fair surely those in a position of power can. What can we do? Streaming is here to stay, Tom Gray is not trying to put an end to it, he is simply trying to realign it and make it fair. We need to keep educating ourselves, artists need to educate themselves and be aware of what they are signing up to. Use Bandcamp they certainly seem to be the heroes amongst the streaming services and is a great way of buying digital, physical releases / merchandise from the artists and ensuring they have a fairer share. You can also write to your local MP to put pressure on the Government to change this system Kevin Brennan MP Cardiff West appears very passionate about this. Please keep this conversation going and the next time you reach to open your spotify or other streaming service app ask yourself the question is there a better way to do this? The instant answer is yes, buy the music.

#ampmagazine #musicnews #brokenrecord #tomgray #brokenrecord #gomez

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