Streaming; What's the Big Deal?

kaylar By kaylar, 19th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Music>Recording & Production

An examination of the creation of the 'music industry' and who profitted

In Ancient Days

To hear music, in those days of yore, one had to physically go to the performance. One would dress up, pay a price, and see the music, live. Whether a symphony or an opera, whether a soloist or choral group, to hear required that one 'be' there now.

The artists were paid for the performance. That was their source of income. If they did not perform, they were not paid. The successful would hire a business manager who would handle the bookings and other accounting procedures. But many involved could do it themselves.


In the late 1800s various methods were created to record sound and play it back. The Gramophone or phonograph record was the medium.

This meant that one didn't have to go to see the artists to hear the music. They could buy a machine that played back the recording and listen to the artist at home.

The artist might be given a flat pay for the recording which was sold by people who might be tone deaf and couldn't care less about music. They cared about money.

The recording might be very popular, might make the 'producer' a lot of money, but the artist was already paid, so it didn't matter if the recording made $1 or $1,000. The artist was paid.

Recording of music advance to better media. From tape to vinyl to Compact discs. People would buy the recordings of stars they liked. The stars might get 1c or so per album. Most of the money would go to the studio.

Big Bellied Men

In capitalism, the mantra is, 'whatever can be exploited will be exploited' and no where is it more evident that in the Music Industry.

A purchaser wants to hear a particular artist so buys the record. The purchaser doesn't know that 80% of that purchase goes into the pocket of the Big Bellied Man who owns the record company. The Artist might have gotten a few dollars, and his record is selling and he's getting a few cents. He's putting in the effort, the Big Bellied man is doing nothing.

The Big Bellied man decides who records, who records what, how much the artist is paid, and how much. He makes the decision. That's all he does. He is a multi-millionaire.


When radio came in, playing recorded music, they would pay the songwriter a small royalty. The performer got nothing. No one got anything except the songwriter. Taping music from the radio is sometimes thwarted by inserting commercials or comments so as to 'spoil' the recording. But not all stations do this.

So the public can sit home, turn on the radio and hear music. No need to go to the concert hall, no need to buy the record. And if one likes the music enough and owned a tape recorder, they could hear what they wanted when they wanted for free.

The I.T. Age

Streaming music became one of those 'grey' areas on the Internet. Napster began and was eventually destroyed for breach of copyright.

The fact was, the only persons who were being denied money were the song writers and the big bellied men. The artist wasn't going to get anything anyway.

However, many artists are stupid. They never saw they were being ripped off by the record companies. They never saw that the Big Bellied Man would put them up in hotels, treat them like Kings, then deduct what this cost from their next pay cheque.

They never noticed how little they made from a recording, and that the real money came from the concerts, the endorsements, and if their music was used in a commercial. They never seemed to catch the fact that the Big Bellied man got the dollars and they got the cents.


Most people, unless extreme fans, do not buy music. They either copy it or stream it. If they really like an artist they may go to see the live performance. If not, they will, as has been done since the proliferation of cheap tape recorders in the 70s, copy it.

Some might burn a CD of what they like, and have the hard copy. Others will find a free streaming service and listen to what they want when they want.

In an honest dollar and cents way, the real victims are the Big Bellied Men. For they can not longer live off the labour of another.


Cds, Music, Performance, Radio, Record Companies, Recording Music, Records, Streaming

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author avatar kaylar
I am passionate about history, culture, current events, science and law

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author avatar brendamarie
19th Jul 2015 (#)

I am very old fashion. I still like to listen to the radio. Great article

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author avatar kaylar
19th Jul 2015 (#)

thanks Brenda!

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author avatar M G Singh
19th Jul 2015 (#)

Most interesting post.

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author avatar aniketnik
19th Jul 2015 (#)

Music has got an universal appeal and lot of depth. Those who perform in the field of music for them Sky is the Limit. Technological changes have taken place in the field of music over the past few years, but then popularity of music is what draws attention of all.

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author avatar kaylar
19th Jul 2015 (#)

And now, with streaming, the Big Bellied Men are cut out

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Jul 2015 (#)

The best music is when you see it live.

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author avatar kaylar
19th Jul 2015 (#)

Exactly Mark. To be at one of those concerts which become legend, there is nothing like it.

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