In recent years, streaming has become the new trend in discovering new music.
With the decline in record sales and increase in online/on-demand, it is safe to say that it has been a disruptive entity within the music industry.
And now with streaming impacting chart positions, record “sales,” and RIAA certifications, it raises the question of whether its inclusion is an accurate representation of the public’s perception and reception of the material. Has obtaining a #1 single lost its initial notoriety?
We weigh up after the jump…
Is it still impressive to achieve a #1 single in today’s market? Absolutely. But one must take into consideration what means are used to top Billboard’s charts today. Let’s think about it in this way. Mariah Carey, the Hot 100’s reigning queen with 18 #1 singles, obtained all of her chart toppers by sales, which arguably makes sense. If more people are purchasing her track than any other song, then she deserves the #1 spot. But today, we see song streams and video views helping singles and albums to the top of the charts; thus, making it much easier than relying strictly on sales.
So in essence, viral videos can help catapult a song to the pole position though it may be outsold by another record. This streaming inclusion makes it easier to obtain the #1 status for both singles and albums. Another pertinent example is Madonna’s latest album ‘Rebel Heart’ versus the ‘Empire’ season one soundtrack; for, despite Madge selling more physical units, it charted behind the ‘Empire’ effort due to its increase in streams.
Because one chooses to listen to a song online, should that be considered in chart placement? If a listener hears a track and decides that it is terrible, they have have essentially (and arguably indadvertedly) helped that track gain a higher ranking, despite dismay towards the song itself. In today’s standard, ‘Friday,’ by Rebecca Black could have been the #1 track. Let that sink in.
Conversely, this implementation does give the listener a higher degree of control in an artist’s success; especially for younger demographics who may not have the ability to purchase music as readily as they would like, but listen to artists on repeat. Consumers may be more enticed to sign up for Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music’s monthly subscription and have unlimited music selection, opposed to purchasing a single track or album. This does provide the artist a greater benefit than just minor monetary compensation from streaming.
Maybe it would be beneficial to decrease the weight of which streaming counts towards chart positions and sales or include ticket sales. For example, tour dates within a year of the album release can count toward an album’s overall sales. Additionally streams from cover songs on YouTube could also go into consideration.. just some ideas.
Has streaming watered down the industry? Is obtaining that coveted top spot spot not what it used to be? Does music streaming benefit the artist, or is this simply a trend that the music industry is capitalizing on? You tell us…