Understanding: The Impact of Streaming versus yourself

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It is easy to claim that it was better before. It isn’t because we do not always have the ability to evolve with time that we should disregard everything that is new.

As much as we praised them, records sales were deeply unfair. Comparing results of distinct artists was always biased. Pricing issues, distinct formats, catalog exploitation, different promotion levels, size of the fan base, gift-friendly material, availability limits, piracy, boundaries of countries, collectors, multi-artists records, Q4 rush or summertime for release, etc., an awful lot of technicalities injected inequity into all figures.

Streaming will not only make the whole industry healthier, it will not only gives you access to more music, more easily, on higher quality and cheaper than ever, it will also fix all those flaws.

As sales are still going on, we can’t look at streams only. In some years though, once most of the general public uses streaming, rankings from everywhere will be more meaningful and more accurate than ever. After decades of misleading information, the real popularity of every song, album, artist will be known. A new era is happening and this era is going to be amazing for the industry, for the artists and for us, the music fans.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question.


Sources: Soundscan, RIAA, BPI, Billboard, Dutch Charts, Danish Charts, Businesswire

3 thoughts on “Understanding: The Impact of Streaming versus yourself”

  1. This is really interesting, I can’t wait to see streaming in it’s full potential! One question though.

    Would it still be possible for this site to estimate accurate streaming numbers since Spotify and YouTube seem to be the only large streaming services that are showing their numbers? Who knows what services will take off in Africa or how large Asian services could get.

  2. Is it fair to say that Taylor Swift is one of the artists most guilty of artificial sales? Packaging them with different collectors items so fans will buy mulitple, increasing the chances of getting tour tickets by buying multiple CDs, making the album unavailable for streaming so the CDs can be bougt. She also seems to have a very high amount of collector fans, many of which openly admit to buying multiple copies to help Taylor reach her goal of 1m debut.

    1. Hi Rod!

      Obviously the debut of reputation is massively fueled with a lot of tricks / incentives to get extra sales that do not necessarily represent the success of the current project. This being said, this is being true for all artists. What we once knew as “pure sales” are getting more and more fake every day. The general public don’t care about them anymore so getting pure sales nowadays requires to do actions that will lead the consumer into doing something he wouldn’t do otherwise.

      As this era (reputation) seems to be struggling a lot more to get organic success, this may be the last one that Taylor pushes that way. We can expect her to go for a standard release next time, axing the promotion around streaming. Her pure album sales will suddenly vanish completely. Then only Adele’s follow up will be pushed that way.

      We will soon be down to the same stage as in mid-00s for physical singles in the US. At that point, they were almost never released and 5k would make a physical single a hit, but that was thanks to collectors as real organic hits weren’t coming out on that format since CD buyers were too old to care about them. A handful of singles driven a large fanbase, like American Idol singles, were still moving numbers in 6 digits on their debut week and then collapsing. We don’t even remember those singles anymore which show those sales were artificial and not the result of a real success but instead of compulsing purchases due to hype. Pure album sales are every day closer to this situation.

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