With the way music licensing is structured, will streaming every become profitable?

There isn’t a single streaming music service that’s turning a profit. Spotify, the biggest of the bunch, still lost $1.4 billion last year alone. Apple and Google can afford to subsidize their streaming programs with their other ventures, but what about standalones like Tidal, Deezer, Quboz and Napster?

Meanwhile, the record labels are reaping HUGE profits from streaming. They’re making far more money from streaming than selling physical product or any other revenue source.

Meanwhile, the streaming companies are being bled dry. Take a look at this graph from Statista.

Clearly, this is unsustainable.  How things will play out is anyone’s guess.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “With the way music licensing is structured, will streaming every become profitable?

  • March 3, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what really happens. It seems like streaming has all but killed physical and even downloads. I’m not sure any kids download music any more–I know mine rarely do. It makes you wonder what the original idea was for monetizing streaming. I’m sure they had some plan in mind, but those numbers in the chart would seem to indicated that they may be missing the mark a little bit!

    It’s distressing to think that the big music companies are the ones that are making the money on streaming. Streaming has brought about such a democratization of the music industry in the way it gives every artist a chance to be heard. It will be a true shame if the big companies are able to reapply their grip on the industry and restrict the free flow of amazing independent music that has been facilitated by streaming.


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