One of the, if not the, most noticeable of its effects is the ability to remove middlemen from the process of music sales and streaming. While streaming platforms have changed the way music is consumed, making it more widely available to the listener, it has also created a whole new level of intermediation between artists and fans.
The music streaming industry has certainly come as a stark improvement, providing a cost-efficient and user-friendly alternative to piracy, allowing artists to receive royalties for their work. However, with this shift, the undeniable discrepancy in terms of the distribution of royalties has come to light. As is the case with many things, the distribution of royalties to artists resembles a Pareto chart where a very small percentage of artists account for the majority of music streams and thus royalty earnings.
This payment discrepancy is due to many factors, including an artist’s music genre and country of origin. While localized services such as China’s AliMusic can help combat these issues on a geographical level, it is likely that the distribution of royalties will always remain skewed, with a handful of hyper-productive artists dominating the majority of the market.