The big news here in Sweden was that a “famous” artist was arrested for robbery and extortion yesterday. Nothing really new but it proves what times we are living in and what lies ahead.
Of course, we in Sweden have a gossip page where they discuss who this “famous” artist could be. The article said that he was one of the most listened to artists on Spotify. Of course, it just takes a couple of hours then the name drops on this site and ninety-nine percent of the readers on there don’t know who that artist is. Neither did I, sorry even though I have worked in the industry for over thirty years and read the most on everything. Nope, I never heard of this guy. Of course, it’s a rapper from the suburbs of Stockholm. Sure he has many streams over (100,000 million) and he was one of the most-streamed artitst last year. Still, no one outside the rapper’s community of Stockholm knows this guy which was pointed out very quickly. I guess after robbing the store he got “real” media so it would boost his career so that more people actually know who he is.
Streaming is not getting you anywhere.
Second, if you have that many streams why would you rob the local 7-Eleven? Street cred? Nah that what was came up but if you really had a career, you wouldn’t throw it away for two packs of cigarettes. The thing here is that the normal record industry is not interested in these artists. When I checked out who gave out this bozo to artists, I found that he was signed to his own or local label. On top of that, the label really didn’t have that much income. They had several artists, but my guess is that the store they robbed actually is making more money than they are now. Here is the second thing, that fast came up on this gossip site. It cost a lot to be the number one artist on Spotify. Because if you really had those numbers you should be rolling in money, they don’t and that is pretty good proof that most of the streams they buy are not paid out. The Spotify system works that you can buy streams but they take off money if they think they are illegal. They don’t take them away, only in really bad cases, it seems.
Streaming is not paying in the end.
This is why no serious record label would pick these artists up and that they still end up on their own or some friend's bedroom label. They spend the few bucks they got on paying for streams to keep their “fame”. This would be like Drake going down to the nearest Tim Horton’s and robbing them of two trays of coffee and try to extort them because he doesn’t have any money. Now Drake is real and has actually real streams.
Sorry to have to prove it once more, the digital side is not working. And with COVID going away and the live side starting to come back where there is real money going around I feel more and more that digital is a secondary thing in the music industry. Music is not the thing that will hang on with the digital side. So measuring an artist’s fame by streams is totally stupid.
Even if you are the most played artist on Spotify it doesn’t prove anything. It doesn’t prove anything that you have a million followers on TikTok, you are probably still nothing. If you fill an arena of 30,000 of ticket sales, you are a real star.