We all know that the way we listen to music is ever growing and changing with time and new inventions.
Not sure? Well, let's go back. Way back. Who remembers listening to 8-tracks in their vehicle? At 24 years old, I don't, of course. But I do remember hearing about them from my parents, especially how large they were! If you were born in the late seventies or were an 80's kid, you are all too familiar with records and that always nervous feeling of dropping the needle on the record and leaving a forever scratch! Or, perhaps when I write the words mix tape or sony walkman that's more your love language of music. For me, it was all about CD's growing up.
Perhaps that's why I still have this affection for them. I also know that as an artist, having fans purchase your CD is not only one of the greatest compliments, but is one of the better ways we (as up and coming, independent, or heck, starving artists) get paid. (Click here to purchase your own autographed Holly Tucker CD!)
What is music streaming? In a nutshell streaming audio means getting your music from the internet which you can listen to on your computer, phone, or other web-based devices such as a smart TV. Some streaming services are free to a degree, such as Spotify, where you are subjected to listening to advertisements sprinkled between tracks. Streaming services such as Apple Music offer subscriptions for a fee of around ten dollars a month. If you're a student, Apple Music actually offers an Apple Music Student Membership for a discounted price! Spotify and Apple Music are by far two of the most popular streaming services. I found this article for you that compares the two to help you decide which is right for you. But interestingly enough, there are actually at least 11 subscription music services available around the world! Read more about them, here.
I have to admit, I've become a big fan of music streaming in recent months. Mostly because, as a music fan myself, I get to create the playlist of my choice and change it often. For free! (I don't mind the advertisements sprinkled in between songs). I cannot begin to explain how much I love my Spotify play lists. I listen to it while I'm working (like writing this blog) and updating my social media. I listen to my Spotify playlist during my gym workouts, and, I listen to my Spotify playlists while I'm cooking and doing my weekly meal prepping in my home. As an artist, it is crucial for me to stay atop of the latest music trends. And this is one of them. In fact, you can find me, Holly Tucker, and my music on both Spotify and Apple Music!
In fact, I will be debuting my next single release on Spotify and Apple Music. This is huge! This is exciting!
As I mention that I am on both Spotify and Apple Music, I need you to do something for me. Yes, right now. I promise it will only take a second. As you read this, open another window on your computer/phone/device. Or, save this blog (and come back to it) but click on over to Spotify, download the app, and then follow the "Holly Tucker" artist page. When you do so, it will show a "following" circle under my name and picture to show that you're following me. This is huge. This is so important to my growth as an artist.
Why? Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. A little behind-the-scenes music industry stuff.
When venues go to book me, or, when other artists look me up to consider asking me to tour with them or open for them, they are looking at how many followers I have on Spotify. I know. Talk about pressure, right? Industry experts and those who have control over my future and gigs and labels consider how often an artist's music is added to playlists, or basically, streamed. That's a whole lotta information that, I know, may not interest you. However, I share this with you so that you know that something as simple as following an artist on social media or streaming service sites is important. Super, super important. People are always watching and forming opinions on that artist based on such social sharing or music streaming-based numbers!
To clue you in even more on how we, as artists make a living: Artists make what they do from several sources: Music sales (digital and physical), merchandise sales, royalties, sponsorships, and live gigs. The main objective is to get the music out there to as many people as possible, and the way to do that is through radio and live gigs. Nowadays, with social media tools and these streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music, however, it's easier than ever to get our music out there. Therefore, if an artist is an independent artist (unsigned to a record label), venue owners place a high value on these artists' social media following and number of streams on streaming sites like Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify. To them, these numbers are the benchmark for how well an artist is expected to do with ticket and food/alcohol sales.
So basically, no high numbers = no gigs.
No gigs = no fans.
No fans = no high numbers.
When it comes down to it, the music industry is like any other industry, a business. Athletes go into sports and professional sports because first and foremost, they love what they do and love playing, I assume. But their performance is always being judged, rated, and followed. The music industry is no different. So to win at it - and I define winning as being my best and happiest sharing my music - we, as artists have to play by the rules of the industry. As artists, we are subjected to guidelines established by people, places, and things way out of our control.
But guess what?
All this talk about streaming music does not mean you have to break up with your current way of listening to your favorite music. In fact, I implore you not to. I will still be releasing my next single on radio. I will still be selling CDs. In fact, I hope my next single release will climb even higher on the charts (y'all have to call or email your regional radio stations you know to request to hear more Holly Tucker!) and that more of you will want to have my CD based on what you discover by streaming your music. Streaming just gives us all one more option to allow us to fill our environment - wherever that may be - with music. Music all the time. Music everywhere. That's music to my ears.
When it is all said and done, whether you get your music by listening to the mainstream and regional radio, streaming and creating playlists of Spotify, listening to satellite radio, or, by thumbing through your most proud collection of CDs, what matters most is that you're listening. You are opening your heart, mind, and soul to the sounds created by talented and passionate musical artists. Despite how fast technology and industries change, that is something that I hope and believe will forever remain constant.