I’m sharing a link here to a wonderful Pitchfork essay by Galaxie 500′s (and Damon and Naomi’s) Damon Krukowski, on streaming and the economics of sonic art. One high point: Damon’s observation that Galaxie 500’s first record was first released only as an LP, and his next will mostly likely be released only as an LP, because streaming music services like Pandora and Spotify have made the idea of selling one’s art for a profit obsolete. For all the bands we love on Progarchy, my guess is they face the same economic hurdles, something David Longdon of Big Big Train shared with me at any rate: they make no money, it’s a labor of love they’re lucky they’re not losing their shirts on. On a somewhat unrelated note, I love the convenience of digital, streamed music, but I also am skeptical of it satisfying the same benefits many of us (I think) got from the LP. Rewarded patience, a linear experience as imagined by the artist, the tactile and visual experience of the sleeve…. If streamed music also means a watering down of the artist’s reward, my skepticism grows.
Craig Breaden, January 5, 2013
3 thoughts on “Sending Art Downstream”
Craig, I can definitely confirm, prog artists make no money to speak of, as my brother Nick can attest. It’s a shame, but at least the love drives enough of these artists to give us a lot of great music to enjoy. BTW, Nick is in England this week (on a break from Cirque) to do some work with BBT.
Mike, thanks for the comment. I suppose it’s a similar situation to those of us who write books about obscure things we consider important. Of course, I have the college to support this too.
I find the contents of the article somewhat distressing. While I knew a lot of today’s prog rockers didn’t exactly jet around the globe in a Gulfstream G5, I did not realize that it was *this* bad. It was hoped that the artists made at least enough money to make a decent living making the music we love – or if nothing else, to at least recover the costs of making said music. Knowing that they often times don’t makes me appreciate that they continue to create such great music all that much more.
As far as Pandora and Spotify, while no Luddite either, I’ve always preferred to have my music locally instead of having it streamed to me through a network from a source hundreds or thousands of miles away. After reading what they pay the artists, I now have another reason to purchase the music instead of streaming it.