Stuart Dredge has written a thoughtful bit in response to the latest shock that letting one person listen to one song on one occasion doesn't make very much money for anyone. There's a bit of straw-manning - Dredge insists that you can't call Spotify sceptics digital luddites, which feels like knocking down a different argument from a different age - but it's at its best when Dredge explores how Spotify could be used to bolster incomes in a more creative way:
my inkling is that the biggest way streaming services can help new artists make a living is to go further still, and become the bridge between people discovering music, and spending money with its creator elsewhere.
It’s happening a bit: Spotify’s new Discover tab often tells me when a band I’ve been listening to is playing nearby, via Songkick. There’s a lot more scope here to provide artists with tools to sell stuff though, including themselves.
What if everyone listening to your music on Spotify could see that you had gigs coming up, or were selling an exclusive/deluxe music bundle on Bandcamp, a DJ mix on Beatport, a limited-edition t-shirt, and so on? What if a streaming service could point all your listeners towards the Kickstarter campaign that will fund your next album?
What, in short, if Spotify (and Deezer, and Rdio, and the rest) became much better and bigger funnels towards all the other ways you’re making money from your music? But still paid you for every stream on their services.