Why haven’t streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music, started signing artists themselves?
The music business is rapidly falling behind other entertainment industries. The music industry has long pushed against technological advancements; fearing new technology the will lead to its destruction/irrelevance.. This has never been the case. More often than not, it is the same technology that threatens the music industry that is also its salvation; cassettes, vinyl, cds.
Netflix, Amazon, and similar video streaming services were once confined to only streaming content produced by major film and TV studios. Then, with shows like Orange is The New Black and House of Cards, these services a trusted source for quality original video content.
The music industry should look to Netflix and Hulu as examples of how to disrupt the traditional label model.
Why hasn’t the music industry followed suit?
Exclusive releases on streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify are a step in the right direction. Within that system, streaming services still have to pay labels to license the exclusive releases, and that artist’s back catalogue. By signing artists directly to a service, not only do streaming platforms have the ability to release their music first, but also to provide the artist with more revenue. With Spotify, Apple, Pandora, or others taking the place of a label, they no longer have to license the music. They already own it. Couple that with not being exclusively tied to a specific label, and thus an ability to release music across numerous/all streaming platforms, and a world of new opportunities and business models for artists begins to emerge; based upon innovations brought forth from free-market competition.
As fans and artists, we have to work together to have a music business that we can be proud of. An industry that has more winners than losers. Artists and music fans are who should be benefiting from music creation, not record labels.