You’d have to blind or ignorant to believe music sharing and streaming hasn’t enormously impacted the music industry. Artists constantly vie to stay relevant in the digital age, while in search of monetary gains to pursue their musical career; these being two elements to continued success that often butt heads. Streaming services like YouTube and Bandcamp have been useful benefactors to spreading an artist’s name and work, however, that doesn’t always equate to money in their pocket (especially with the ease of ability to directly rip songs off both sites). While not every effort to protect the artist is being made now, at least steps in the right direction are happening.
Entire albums have been exposed to YouTube’s library since its earliest of days. Back then, it was a quick and easy way to post and share music with your friends, strangers and – quite honestly – the world. The folks at YouTube’s offices recognize that and are working to better integrate music into their platform with a new service: YouTube Music Key. With a starting price of $9.99 each month (although there is a $7.99 promo for its launch), paid users will receive ad-free music even while offline, a subscription to Google Play Music that includes expert-curated playlists, and the ability to watch YouTube official music videos from the app.
Essentially, Music Key is aiming to be Spotify, but with more of a visual element. The New York Times reported of the push for this service to be made came after Merlin, a global independent label coalition, threatened to remove their content from YouTube after being given inferior contracts to those offered to Universal, Sony and Warner. Take a look at the YouTube Music Key launch video below:
Bandcamp also announced similar motives to better compensate the artists who make up their platform. Although their service updates don’t come with a cheeky new name, Bandcamp is opening the doors to flexible subscription options for their artists. In an interview with The Guardian, Bandcamp’s chief executive Ethan Diamond detailed his company’s plans to allow each artist establishing power for allowed play counts until reaching a paywall and subscribing bonuses for those who pay the artist.
“The whole motivation here is that when you get to a point that you love an artist – when you go from liking them to being a real true fan of theirs – at some point you just want everything they make. You just want to support everything that they do,” Diamond said.
Subscribers to an artist may even earn exclusive music from the artist (if the artist allows it), as well as a determined discount on the artist’s merchandise. Prices for the music are set by the artist, and Bandcamp states it will take 15 percent of the digital sales revenue, yet that will drop to 10 percent once the artist reaches $5,000 in total sales. The idea is best summed up as Diamond said in the interview: “It’s kinda like what U2 and Apple did, except that it’s music that you actually want!”