Criticism over streaming music services like Spotify is really nothing new. A multitude of artists have come forward to complain about the royalties that are paid out from services such as these. There has been a lot of back and forth dialogue over whether or not digital sales have actually cost artists cold, hard cash that used to come from fans buying good old CD's. Ed Sheeran is one artist that believes streaming services ultimately have helped him to do that thing that he loves most—play live.
At a recent stop the Amazon London offices Sheeran discussed his thoughts on streaming services saying:
"I'm in the music industry to play live. That's why I make records, that's why I do radio interviews, that's why I do Amazon events, that's why I put things on Spotify. having recorded music is fantastic, but playing live is where I buzz the most. This album was streamed 26 million times in the first week on Spotify, and that means 26 million people have heard my album... That means a tenth of them might consider buying a ticket or going to a festival, and that's enough for me to tour very comfortably...
I know a lot of artists are a bit iffy about it, and to be honest, I did get a royalty cheque from Spotify that was about £4... It's one of those things, but for me, the more iPods, phones and computers that I'm on, the better, because I just want to play. That's what I enjoy."
Sheeran actually makes some really good points. Tickets for live gigs aren't going to sell on a huge level unless the music is out there circulating so while there may be an initial perceived loss in record sales, isn't it more than possible to make up for at least some if not all of that in ticket sales? It sounds like the key to using services to an artists' advantage starts with perspective. If they see it as a means to an end with that end being to play more live gigs, then streaming services may not be the necessary evil that some artists have painted them to be.