In an article I read in the New York Times this morning, Streaming Shakes Up Music Industry’s Model for Royalties: As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle, it’s not hard to see what needs to be done to help the starving artist into extinction, and the phat artist get a bit leaner. Lawsuits? No! Artists are biting into this hook line and sinker. I think the really shocking bit that no one ever really wants to say because of the huge artists which take in a lot more than other artists, is for similar reasons we don’t show the salaries of our fellow employees. However, in some cases consumers do seem to gasp and rally around the starving employee’s or artists, in this case, when there is such a stark contrast in the earnings, such as in a developing nation, consumers seem to rally the troops. Also, the Hollywood Industry seems to be OK with releasing the extravagant earnings of some of the top making actors and actresses. If the Music Industry Association were to try to rally the troops to make an API (Application Interface) a requirement, and allow third parties to pull amounts of net royalties dynamically, or whenever those amounts are committed, as well as based upon each artist opting in or out, i.e. if artist, opts-out, they must be doing well might be the assumption, that transparency may shame the consumer into going in another direction with their music purchasing style. If I can go to a Blog, and view a dashboard that shows the net royalties of any artist, and has a N/A for which artists have opted out, and you can see those tallies slowly rise, or static based on the committed time to book the royalties, music lovers may empathize with the artist.
A second, and parallel approach, is to just peel back Spotify, and look at the functionality, see what the consumer is getting beyond the streaming model, and offer it up similarity using a more artist, consumer, distributor amenable cost model. Don’t tell me it is all just the streaming aspect that attracts the customer, because it is certainly not. Looking at the application, and how people interact with it I spot a few features off the back that are alluring.