The rise of streaming
When I first started releasing music, it was all about getting my CD's on store shelves and fighting for up front rack placement. Then CD stores went away. That left me with radio play and iTunes. Getting my songs on radio was one of the few ways to let listeners know that I had new music available on iTunes. However, that created a gatekeeper mentality where the radio stations had all the power. This created a music industry where only a select few were being promoted. I used to ask myself, "how will people know that I released new music on iTunes when radio station won't even play my new music?"
The answer I found is social media and streaming services. We now have a direct line to our fans. No longer can the gatekeepers of the past decide whether or not our music is worth being heard. We can now see in real time how our fans are responding to the release of new music. Internet based platforms are data driven which allow us to research what is working and what is not. Now if I release a new song, I can see exactly how many listeners are tuned in any given period of time and where they are listening from. This plays a huge roll in planning your marketing strategy. It's always a huge advantage to know who your target audience is.
It's true that streaming doesn't pay as much as a sale would, but keep in mind that streaming increases your chance of residual income. Listeners who use Pandora and Spotify are likely saving your music on a personalized playlist that they will listen to over and over again. Unlike a sale that is one and done. Although, what I've found is that as my streaming audience grows, so does my iTunes sales. This is due to new fans discovering my music on streaming services and then wanting to support me as an artist. This is why I make all of my music available to streaming services.
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