The rise of streaming as a service has brought with it an insatiable demand from music consumer for new music. More especially for music classified as part of pop culture. Artists now release projects more frequently than before.
In the previous article, we looked at how streaming as a social media platform, and together with other social media platforms, has created a big demand for constant supply of new music. And the role pop culture plays at the center of it all. In this article we look at the effects of that demand on the artist. The focus is on less popular artists and not the mega stars as they're the ones affected by this dynamic.
With traditional hard copy sales, an artist probably gets more benefits from once-off purchases from a core fan-base and some new listeners. Hard copies also carry the added benefit that they are tangible memorabilia for the fans. They have more interactive value. But the artist only sees revenue from those at one point.
In contrast, streaming can close this gap and bring in steady income for an artist, provided that the work receives attention. Streaming requires that the project have some replay value in order to make up a decent amount in sales. Which is a good push towards improved quality of music. But streaming is also susceptible to the pop culture once-off listen effect we unpacked in the previous article.
Music, as an art, comes from some level of talent and most importantly, inspiration. Musicians are able to put their thoughts and life experiences into words in a way the average person cannot. They're able to put your own thoughts and feelings in words better than you can. Doing this takes time. Rushing this process can prove to be detrimental.
Releasing rapidly also brings down the value and lifespan of an album. An artist should be able to go for an extended period without releasing a new body of work while still gathering revenue from their current project. The artist should be able to leverage a project for touring, performances, business deals and any other opportunity that may arise from it.
Sure, for touring and performances, a bigger catalogue to pull from may be an advantage. But a good project can be good touring material as well. The impact to touring is not as great as it is with the rest of the revenue opportunities for a short life span album. An example close to home is what Nasty C did with his debut album, Bad Hair.
Soon after the album's release there were singles being released and focus shifted entirely from promoting the album to working towards a new one. That practice is more common in these times where fans are rushing to hear what's next right after they've heard the new work.
With the artist not giving themselves enough time to go through lived experiences and be inspired, they run the risk of not rising up to the standard they set for themselves and repeating themselves in their content. Bringing them to a point where they've said all they have to say, at the time.
Art should be celebrated. Artists should be able to bring out music and bask in its celebration for longer than what we as fans allow them now. This pop culture phenomenon that drives rapid release is too big of a snowball to bring to a complete halt. But we can do our part in taking time to appreciate music more and see how that will translate into artists bringing out music to fawn over.
To artists, it goes as a warning that if you play the streaming numbers game, you might get caught up in the rat race of churning out music at a rate you can't keep up with and end up compromising your output. The novelty is quick to wear off with a non-core audience.