No surprise, after her first week, Adele’s new album 25 is the number one album according to Billboard and has broken a handful of records. When the album first came out one of the things that stood out to me, was the attention that was being put on the fact that the album was not going to be available on Spotify and other streaming options.
Supposedly fans were outraged…but that didn’t stop them from buy the album. In fact some would argue that a large portion of the sales were due to the fact that the album wasn’t online with easy access to listen to. You wanted to hear it, you need to buy it.
This isn’t the first time an artist has withheld their music from streaming services. Last year Taylor Swift wouldn’t allow her album 1989 to be streamed. That same album ended up being the biggest selling album of the year, which I’m sure Adele is on the path to being this year.
So is this an indicator of the impact Spotify and other streaming sites have on sales. Possibly. Probably. Are streaming options bad for the industry? I think under the current model, yes they are. But that doesn’t mean they’re 100% negative. I like streaming sites, especially ones that create an opportunity for new music discovery, but I think the current model being used that includes streaming sites for music releases is wrong.
My gut is telling me that the music industry should follow the movie industries model and where movie streaming fits into that. Major releases don’t end up on Netflix until after they’ve done a run in the theatres. It’s going to be a while before you see Star Wars The Force Awakens on Netflex or any other similar services. The same will happen with the Adele album. So why not do that with more albums.
With ‘big name’ releases, keeping them off streaming sites initially would benefit everyone. ‘Big Name” artists like The Foo Fighters, Drake, Beyonce, Nickelback and other could easily get way with releasing the album first and then a couple months later making the album available for streaming on Spotify, etc.
That approach wouldn’t work for brand new artists, but like a lot of popular new shows like Orange Is The New Black, Dare Devil, House Of Cards and Jessica Jones, releasing new artists directly to the streaming sites when they get releases could potentially help gain additional exposure. Especially if they get promoted as being new and streamable.
The more I think about it…this approach is fairly viable and easy to do or am I missing something? Surely someone else has thought the same thing? Is there a reason why the music industry wouldn’t adopt this approach?