Wild Roots Magazine Website Header Logo


Wild Roots Magazine Artcile Image.


Music streaming is a big trap. If we are able to divert our own private earnings away from these platforms, in time artists such as myself will be able to offer proper alternatives for the audience.

FEB 10, 2023



I wanted to share a discussion I had with someone in my YouTube comments section. I do want to mention that I harbor no ill-will towards this person, nor people who do this, but it is important to share perspective. It’s important to quantify how the destruction-of-your-culture is being perpetrated through convenience…

YouTube Comment
I found your profile on Spotify but not your music. What's up with that?

Greg Arcade
I do not support that platform or the bullshit propaganda they push on listeners. You can stream my music at gregarcade.com/jukebox ad free and you can support me by buying an album.

YouTube Comment
I get it, and I delete content from people who reveal their anti-freedom far left agenda. I like Spotify for the convenience . At 62 I've never owned a TV but I couldn't live without music. I haven't listened to commercial radio in decades either because it's mainly garbage. I've had 8 tracks, cassettes, vinyl of course, and then CDs. I started using Sirius when it first became available, but I found it to be useless in mountainous and forested areas with intermittent service. Then a friend introduced me to Spotify. I now pay something like $12 with tax per month and I can download and listen offline. No matter which of my vehicles I'm in (they both have Bluetooth), or using a small Bluetooth speaker in my toolbox at work or by a campfire. To me it's good value for the access to so much music. It's also the first place I look for the new or obscure.

Greg Arcade
It is good value for someone who wants music. It is terrible value for a musician. 10000 streams pays a little over $20, but that's before costs getting the album up there. That's 35000 minutes of music, or 583.333 hours based on a 3:30 song which is the average length of music I put out. My albums range from 30 minutes to an hour. Even at an hour, thats over 580 plays of that album, for 20 dollars, and that would be from 1 person. Now if we mention how Spotify defrauds musicians through their stream-share model by also producing and releasing music which they boost algorithmically, or how Spotify's back end artist management pages are full of far-left propaganda, or how Spotify will algorithmically push political, or even procedurally-generated, works at people (mainly using the free service) albeit, you're looking at pure evil coopting the art-form and destroying viability for artists. I would not tell you what to do with your money, but that $12 a month doesn't make it to the pockets of any meaningful musicians who are working to create important works for their communities. This is also part of the reason I learned to code my own music player: no ads, no subscription needed, and when people appreciate it they can donate through that page, or go to my main site and buy an album, all the while reducing their support of the beast system. When someone does send money to me through my website, they are supporting me, and supporting the things I do. If you care about music that is authentic and spreading messages with good morals, I recommend cancelling that subscription, and spending $12 a month directly on an artist through the website, or merchandise, etc. something that will end up in their pockets.

How many artists from the old-world do you remember being on your instagram, sharing some post to “pre-save my new single on Spotify and Apple Music!” Wow thank you. I can’t even listen to it yet? Why are you sharing it with me? haha I was guilty of this. I have learned, and now that I don’t even waste my time in that system, I am faring much better than I did back then.

Is this convenient for you the listener? No. Of course not. Nothing worth doing, building, or working on is very convenient.

I like to do the math, because it takes 5 minutes of my day, I learn something, and nobody else ever does it… I am going to base all the following numbers on this handy dandy Spotify stream calculator https://soundcamps.com/spotify-royalties-calculator/

1,000,000 streams pays the artist ~$2,380 a month. $2,380 a month is $28,560 a year. Congratulations on living in poverty. We aren’t even including the cost of manufacturing the music, distributing it, making the artwork, marketing it; what about if you have multiple band members? Cut that down by 4. Let’s pretend the artist is like me and does absolutely everything on their own, which is not common in the slightest… Are you guys streaming my music 1 million times a month? Are you own fans streaming your music that much?

If you have 200 people paying $12 a month you get $2400. That’s spot-on right? Okay so 3.5 minutes multiplied by 1 million streams is 3.5 million minutes. In hours that is 58333.333 hours worth of music. 58333.333 hours in total divided by 200 listeners is 291.667 hours per listener per month. There are 730 hours in 1 month. 291.667 hours divided by 730 hours is 0.3395 so let’s just say .34 or 34% of a month. That equates to 34% of your day if we split it by every day. A day has 24 hours. 34% multiplied by 24 hours is 8.16 hours per day per month listening to 1 single artists music to spend $12 on that artist that month.

You’re listening to music for 8 hours a day, correct? The same artist for those 8 hours? Not likely. In fact it’s more likely you might listen to music from any given artist once a week for an hour and I do believe that is being generous. That’s 4 hours a month for 1 artist. How many people at 4 hours a month do we need to be listening to a specific artist’s music so that we may have the privilege of living in abject poverty? Unless I’m doing this math wrong, which I could be since it is very early and I’ve had a rollercoaster of a week, we go 58333.333 hours worth of music divided by 4 hours per person. That’s 14584 people listening to your music at minimum 1 hour a week per month. Is that feasible for any small independent artist? Is that even feasible for larger artists?

Even the artists with deals at labels that are pushing their music like crazy have to be bleeding pretty hard on Spotify. Marketing fees. Manager fees. Costs associated with being on the label. Music takes hard work, but at the end of the day they can’t be seeing more than a couple-hundred-a-person at the best of times.

Do people believe they are supporting artists by paying a corporation on good-faith to compensate those artists? I think they do, but in reality they aren’t.

So what if, instead, those 200 loyal-listeners spent 12 dollars directly at the artist’s website that month? What if that artist put out content directly for them a few times a week. Sometimes more; sometimes less. On average it works out though.

What is the obsession with paying corporations that hate you every month?

It’s easy.
It’s cheaper.
It’s more convenient.
There is more selection.

This is also why you often say, “music isn’t like it used to be.” That is because it isn’t.

The big corporate entities have even tricked the vast majority of musicians into believing that they need to have their music on these platforms. In exchange people trade their voice for the “illusion of inclusion.”

The artist will say, “I am on Spotify so when my music takes off people will be able to access it.”

The patron will say, “I am paying for Spotify so thereby I am supporting the artists which are on this platform.”

Both of these statements are false.

Everything worth doing takes effort. The artist must work harder to get in touch with a genuine audience. The patron must seek out the music that they like and support it. If the artist does not receive enough compensation for the investment of time, eventually that artist will move on. How do we prevent the under-appreciation of artists, while also providing enough value to the patron?

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that if you see a solution to a problem you should pursue it. You will either fix something or learn a lesson. This is what I am doing. I am personally trying to fix this problem through services I offer. I help other artists build a platform, similar to my own, where they can sell directly to their audience. They don’t need to worry about who they are catering to, other than their own audience. If their audience is loyal, they will go directly to this platform and support the artist. In a time where the industry is adapting to changes, part of that adaptation means getting leaner and more efficient. You know that old saying? “Cut out the middle man?” That’s what I allow people to do. I have been encouraging other artists I know, who share the same moral standpoint that I do, to walk away from these large platforms and sell directly to their fans. This doesn’t mean this is the only solution, just one I have presented.

This mentality extends to more than musicians. Podcasters, comedians, personalities, alternative news sources; once all of these entities have built their own platforms, it will be much easier to start building platforms which can guide an audience to directly support those artists. An example of these promotional platforms is Wild Roots Magazine.

Music streaming is a big trap. If we are able to divert our own private earnings away from these platforms, in time artists such as myself will be able to offer proper alternatives for the audience.

As for current alternatives, and as I said in the message above to that nice fellow: I invested the time to learn how to make a music-streaming platform on my own website. You can listen with your phone screen off. You can navigate away from your browser. It keeps playing. The disadvantage? You can only listen to my music there, but if I am an artist directing you to a Spotify page, isn’t this the same thing?

If you do not become a patron of the arts, you will not have art. Right now if you pay a streaming service, you are a patron of a corporation. Start by cancelling your membership. If you are a Spotify subscriber, you just freed up $240 a year. Now use that same amount of money to contribute towards art, news, culture, music, painters, podcasters, writers, books, ANYTHING. If you are an artist, and you aren’t making this option available for people, then that $12 a month goes to a corporation. If you do not give your audience an opportunity to support you, they won’t, because they can’t.

If you do build a platform where people can support you, you will be surprised by the actual, real people, out there who will be so amazingly generous that your faith in your fellow man might just be a little big restored.

Be brave enough to venture out on your own.

The rewards might outweigh the risks. I can’t guarantee anything, but I do know this: no one ever became great by hedging their bets and playing it safe.

Twitter Logo Instagram Logo