Is free music streaming damaging the music industry?

Its 2015, technology is at an all time high, more young people use the internet than ever before, so why is it that music downloads and album sales are falling?
It is easier than ever to download your favourite songs, with I Tunes, Amazon, HMV etc all offering a fast and easy download service.
But the truth is now more than ever people are turning to streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer, Spotify now boast an impressive 45 million users, but less than 6 million of them actually pay for the service, meaning a loss of earnings for artists, producers, record labels and the streaming website’s themselves.
One song has to be streamed 100 times to account to one £99p download.
So its no wonder people are losing money due to these services.
Illegal downloads are being more heavily punished yet these sites allow you to to play and listen to any song at any time for free, providing you have Wi-Fi which is now easily accessed at many stores, cafes etc, so its no wonder sales are dwindling, why pay when you can have access to a whole catalogue of singles and albums for absolutely nothing?.
Superstar Taylor Swift last year protested against free streaming by pulling her entire catalogue of work from Spotify.
But now rap megastar Jay Z has set up his own streaming website TIDAL, where he aims to give back control to artists and fans alike.
He will charge $19.95 a month for CD quality listening and $9.95 a month for standard quality, by charging for the use of the site, the superstar aims to give the power back to the music industry.
A host of huge names have become co partners in TIDAL, they include Jay Z’s wife Beyonce, Rihanna, Madonna and Alicia Keys.
So is free streaming damaging to the music industry? I put this question to fifteen Twitter users and here is what they had to say.:

1: @BellasNumptyx: Well personally I don’t think so, because if you like a song you download it anyway, and some people download from YouTube for free, so personally I think that is, but personally I don’t think it is.

2: @JoeSarahCheryl: I don’t think so really, but maybe it shouldn’t count for as much as it does.

3: @xx_karlsx: No, not at all, I actually think its better for artists in the music industry, because it gives them more publicity, and also more people can hear the artist.

4: @wowameowa: I’d say it is affecting it yes, but on a personal level I rarely stream songs, because it takes a lot of effort, and I love buying CD’s too, I think free streaming only directs towards people who don’t have a favourite band or singer, so they listen to chart music, which would be a mix of artists so they don’t want to buy it.

5: @chrislou27: I don’t think so, because at the end of the day its the people that these artists are releasing their music for, and some people may not have the money to buy their new single or album, also some streaming counts towards the chart.

6: @Laynn_SC330: In my opinion free streaming is damaging the music industry, because it’s killing real music. Its the worst thing to happen to musicians, in the age of Spotify, artistry is literally under fire, in our present popular culture of streaming, where a consumer can discard, delete and disconnect at a push of a button, artistry is recast as purely episodic, the artistic worth of music today has liquefied, musicians earn only a little money from the streaming of their songs, they can’t make a living from solely making music anymore, which I think is sad.

7: @ga_feels: I don’t think it is as it is boosting chart rankings, which is good publicity for the artist and more people will buy the song/album, once they have listened to it via Spotify, and those who can’t get it via I Tunes, they can listen to it for free and they can enjoy what others are enjoying.

8: @LallanasLegacy: In my opinion, I think free music isn’t damaging the music scene. Websites such as YouTube and Grooveshark allow for continual streaming without having to deal with any drama of putting your bank account details into the site. I can see why people prefer to pay as it allows the artist to make money for their work, but streaming allows for people to listen to a song, and if they like what they hear buy the album by that particular artist. I’ve bought songs before from I Tunes and it takes a long time to download. All in all I will continue to stream music but in some case I will buy an album.

9: @RojinaCherylx: I think it is in a way because, its not giving the artist what they deserve in terms that people should pay for it, meaning the artist will become number 1. So the artist is losing out on the publicity with that specific song, and people should buy the song if they like it.

10: @chloeelangtonn: Not really because most of the time it counts towards sales, so it is still gaining them money.

11: @Lifeofholls: In some respects yes, for accomplished artists with singles out it is damaging and decreases their sales, however undiscovered talent thrives from such an industry, it is a way of getting themselves out there, I think there is negative and positive aspects

12: @HammaadM3: I think it is because people are not spending their money in the shops to buy CD and albums, it is classed as copyright although buying music music from I Tunes is very popular and is keeping the music industry going.

13: @TawaneBrasil: I don’t think so, I think it helps expand the music industry.

14: @amezbbz: I feel it is because it is reducing the amount of physical sales of albums, I feel it is always nice to hold an album in your hands rather than just downloading/listening to the album without buying it.

15: @lickmekaty: yeah kind of because the artists want you to be able to buy the songs off the likes of I Tunes, as that is how they make money, so it is better for the artists to get their songs bought, rather than free streamed.

Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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Twitter: @cherylssoldier1
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