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The Taylor Swift tree hides the forest from streaming - Business

The Taylor Swift tree hides the forest from streaming – Business

The vast majority of artists are faced with a new situation due to the rise of platforms: the atomization of the audience.

“The Playlist”, a series currently visible on Netflix, tells the genesis of the Spotify music streaming platform. Its narrative principle consists in developing different points of view, one per episode. At the start, we follow the creator Daniel Ek and how in 2006 his very young start-up set out to conquer the record companies which were then taking the full brunt of the attacks from peer-to-peer pirates, sinking like the Titanic. . But the series that started on a perky Silicon Valley-style note (the HBO series) ends in dystopia. The last episode, darker, indeed offers a slight anticipation of the point of view of a singer: in 2024, the platform and the majors have won, and the artists are…

“The Playlist”, a series currently visible on Netflix, tells the genesis of the Spotify music streaming platform. Its narrative principle consists in developing different points of view, one per episode. At the start, we follow the creator Daniel Ek and how in 2006 his very young start-up set out to conquer the record companies which were then taking the full brunt of the attacks from peer-to-peer pirates, sinking like the Titanic. . But the series that started on a perky Silicon Valley-style note (the HBO series) ends in dystopia. The last episode, darker, indeed offers a slight anticipation of the point of view of a singer: in 2024, the platform and the majors have won, and the artists are the turkeys of the farce. It is true that in the wake of Spotify, the platforms have flourished. And by bringing the pirates back into the paths of legality, they saved the majors, assuring them what they themselves had never dared to dream of: ever more substantial regular income from the half-billion global subscribers. Are artists really the turkeys of the farce? At first glance not all. Because we have seen that the “old artists” of the back catalog (like Bob Dylan or Fleetwood Mac) have also made a fortune, benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars from investment funds for the exploitation of their titles. Very pretty golden parachutes… On the other hand, the vast majority of artists are faced with a new situation due to the rise of platforms: the atomization of the audience. With more than 60,000 titles added per day on the platforms, it is becoming increasingly difficult for an artist to exist. Streaming and its rolling stream of new releases immerses each artist in an ever-expanding pool of titles. A dilution that does not spare, it seems, the big names in the sector. In the era of streaming, they too are seeing their sales drop despite everything compared to the era of vinyl or CDs when you bought individual albums. Harry Styles, a popstar if ever there was one, sold “only” 521,000 albums in the first week of its release. And in fact, we note a disappearance of planetary mega-hits, as previous eras have produced. This “long tail” effect – namely the atomization of sales over an ever-increasing number of artists – paradoxically represents a windfall effect for record companies. Hartwig Masuch, the boss of BMG, was even able to boast that the revenues of his major had increased by 25% in the first six months of 2022 without even having produced a single major hit. It freed them from their addiction to mega-stars (unlike cinema whose overall survival depends on a handful of blockbusters). And in fact, we are witnessing an ever more marked scissors effect: concentration at the top of the profit pyramid among the majors and platforms and atomization of gains at the base among artists. Among all artists? Maybe not. Because there is an exception to this general dilution, and it is called Taylor Swift. Going against the current, the pop-country-folk-rock-alternative-mainstream artist aligns figures from another era: in just 24 hours, Midnights, his latest album, becomes the biggest seller of the year and reaches in one week 1.5 million sales (a record that she held herself), monopolizing for the first time in history the first 10 places of the Billboard top 10… Taylor Swift or the tree that hides the streaming forest. The only plausible explanation? The interpreter of Anti-Hero is a superheroine.

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