Streaming News

What’s happening in regards to the streaming world, streaming services, and music. keeping you up-to-date on important issues that can affect music fans!

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You know, I’ve written a few times about my struggle as to whether to continue blogging or not. Now, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying as me not having faith in what I’m doing. Believe me, I spent a lot of time building my blog from scratch, and I’m proud of my end result. So, it’s not about insecurity or anything like that. But, the reality is, social media has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years. Bloggers like myself rely on social media; and when the algorithms are rigged in such away that it’s almost impossible to promote yourself without spending a tone of money on ads, that is a discouragement. In other words, it clear that there is a lot of suppression in social media; it’s not just about politics. I remember when podcasting was about the people; the “nobodies” made podcasting what it is now. Today, we almost can’t find any of the original podcasters from back in the day, because the news media has taken it over, and the people no longer have a voice.

Took a hard look at some stats, and I discovered quite a few things that changed my view about my own blogging

My revelation made for some good cyber-life experience! 

So, I started to take a much closer look at the tools I have available to me, in terms of SEO, and I was surprised to discover a few things I hadn’t realized. Well, let me first share a few myths. I don’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but, with the exception of YouTube, there appears to be a clear anti-streaming services on some social media sites like Facebook. They hate Spotify, and they hate iTunes. The only thing FB wants to see on FB is YouTube. On some level, I see that on Twitter too. But, many are just artist promoting numbers to get people to listen to their music. Which is different from music fans sharing music they like. This was one of the reasons that caused me to stop blogging for a while. There is no real discussion about this on the net, and I didn’t know how to proceed. Until I found some recent legitimate numbers of streaming uses. Spotify has more than 450+ million users (including paid and freemium users). This really shocked me, because the attitudes on FB almost made me a shamed of starting a Spotify site. I mean, they would literally delete my posts. That is really a turn off. A lot of these music groups owners are assholes really. I was also shocked to find out that Spotify beat iTunes; Spotify has almost 4x more subscribers than iTunes, what I used to call the king of music content. This really reshaped my view of things.

The next thing I’ve learned is that, I was reading a lot of articles on how people are using their mobile phones to do more and more things such as shopping. So, since that made logical sense to me, I designed my blog for mobile use (really). Then after taking a closer look at my stats, it turns out that more than 70% of people who are using Windows computer systems are accessing my site via Firefox & Chrome. Another interesting fact that those who ARE using their mobiles to access my blog are mostly Apple iPhone users. While it’s true (relatively speaking), I have a small fan base of over a thousand+ monthly, they’re not only returning visits, I also discovered that people from all over the world. It’s frustrating when you’re doing something unique and you don’t have enough data/or articles written to help you with decisions about our web projects. I feel happy tho, because I can clearly see that my hard work is being appreciated.

Welp, it happened! When we think of inflation, we think of food, gas prices, cloths, etc. We never think of business that function almost exclusively on digital technology would be affected by inflation. Well, I guess they can. Many business such as Apple, was one of the first to increase their prices on their music platform as of last month. You can bet your ass that other platforms will ensue. Sometimes I think, was this really about inflation? Or is it because of smaller and lesser known artists have been fighting for years for bigger payouts? Perhaps the current inflation was a hidden excuse to make this happen?

Bottom line is, streaming payouts are complicated in my opinion

I don’t know if music fans are aware of it or not, but there still is very much a payout war when it comes to music streaming. And in my opinion it’s really complicated depending on various conditions; such as licensing, how large the streaming service is; publicity; your fan base; how many of your fans use said service; how many of your fans use freemium services appose to paid; etc, etc. Another important fact is, we’re exposed to a lot more music than we ever had been before. The market is wider than it ever was before. So, it may not be a matter of an artist getting “paid enough,” but rather are you talented enough to make the money you’re demanding a streaming service to pay you! Well, don’t want to get into my soapbox. for now, I’m ok with it, because growing up, I know how much I paid for music, and if I think of things from that standpoint, I know the $1 extra I spend is still a great deal to have access to more music I’ll ever have time to listen to.

I just want to remind my readers that music streaming (even from YouTube (I’m grudgingly admitting)), is still important. I’ve shockingly encountered some people who are anti-streaming; however, seriously understand that the millions and millions and millions of people that are using streaming right now, would be pirating your music if it wasn’t for streaming. So I really think it’s counter productive to try and convince people NOT to use streaming, because you’re living in the past. What you may consider a little chump change, is better than making nothing at all!!!

You know, Being a blogger is so wonderful, because when you think about a subject matter no one else is really talking about, we as bloggers have the power to write it, and get our ideas out to the masses! We all know how important playlists are today; whether you’re using an actual streaming service or YouTube; playlist helps us to find new likable content, or new old content you’ve never heard before. Believe it or not, I still use several streaming services other than Spotify. You might be asking yourself, why does he do that? Well, the answer is fairly simple. Different streaming services have different customized algorithms, that give different results in terms of the music it recommends. If you learn anything from my blog, please remember this (and I’ve written about this before), it takes quite some time for a good streaming service to learn the type of music you listen to. It is absolutely ridiculous for anyone to think that can listen to a service such as Spotify , for about two days, and think Spotify is going to give you amazing music you’ve never heard before! Why would you even think that? When I started off using Spotify, it took about 3 months of almost daily use before I noticed a difference in Spotify’s music selection for me. It took another 3 months before I considered Spotify’s recommendations to me were perfect for my individual tastes.

Be aware that there are different unique algorithms for all the major music streaming platforms!

Having said this, there is an issue that sometimes arises when you listen to too much of the same music with a certain tempo (or perhaps genre?). On occasion, some auto generated playlists can contain too much of the same artist, or sometimes too many songs from the same album in a single playlist. I’m not exactly sure what causes this. I’m gonna assume that it’s because if we’re listening to really old and obscure music, the algorithms for the service you’re listening to has trouble matching previous songs with another (or artist). This is were listening to other streaming services can be beneficial. Now, I’m NOT suggesting that you should spend $10 for all the major streaming services. You may be surprised that there are a couple of services that offer “freemium” services as well as Spotify. I think Spotify should be the first on your list of freemium services because they’re very pro-playlist; and you can easily create them by choosing any song or album and right-click and choose “create station.”

Another freemium service is Deezer, you can’t create “playlistable radio stations” like with Spotify. However, Deezer supply several daily playlists for you (just like Spotify). There is also YouTube Music & iHeartRadio. Again, you can’t auto-create playlists like you can for Spotify, but both offers a wealth of pre-made playlists created by both the service and their users. If you already subscribe to a streaming service, and you don’t want to listen to commercials, you can use a free service called Soundiiz, and transfer all your playlist (interchangeably) to different services! However, keep in mind, I do recommend you listen to the commercials every once in a while, as that’s how the algorithms build your profile & taste. Look it up!! 🤣

I was actually inspired by this question because of a rude facebook comment I got a while back, of a song I posted. To be honest, I don’t remember the song I posted. However, I was kind of shocked at the person’s comment, saying something to the effect that the song was garbage, yadda, yadda, yadda. Now, I wasn’t emotionally distraught, as we all know a troll when we see one. But, that brought up an issue that I never really heard anyone talk about. that is, a “hit song” really depends on not only the city you’re living in, but the radio stations you actually have access to. Now, in today’s streaming era, I don’t think this is a huge factor as it was back in the day. Or maybe it still is, as we still have many men and women of my generation who are still scared to touch a computer, damn it!

I think this really brings home the importance of having an open mind when it comes to music. Especially in regard to younger people. This lack of open mindedness is one of the many reasons a significant amount of our people now have no music culture.

The fact that people are so closed minded to consume other genres, is one of the many reasons I started this blog in the first place. We need more musicophiles who actually posses diverse musical tastes, that can blog examples of good music outside of today’s genre norms. One of the most beautiful things about having a personal blog, is that you have total control of your own creative content! If anyone tries to judge you and say a song you post is crap, assume that idiot has absolutely no culture of their own! Sometimes even within cities themselves, can have several entirely different demographics within them! Let’s stop being so snobbish, and open your mind to something different for a change. A hit song should not be defined by record sales, but the spirit and the soul of a song itself.

Believe it or not, this is a very difficult subject matter for me to write about. Because as music streaming permanently cements itself firmly into our culture, and after more than a decade, I can truly see how the quality of playlists has declined. There is literally no care that is put into most playlists that are being promoted today! As a die-hard music fan and musicophile, it kind of makes me feel bad for saying that, as it could be misconstrued as me saying everyone’s musical tastes sucks ass, and my taste is better than everybody else! However, anybody who followed my blog for a long time know that’s not where I’m coming from! The reality is today, over the years I think we now have three (unexpected) major problems we have within the music streaming industry, in regards to it’s use:

  • First, in the context of classic music, we still have huge problem of not enough of the older generation are interested in learning how to use music streaming, or choose to stay in their comfort zone by being comfortably computer ignorant. Please don’t react in a negative way to my statement. It’s NOT an attack on the character of older people. But, the fact that we all know how expensive music is, and that most older folk are on fixed incomes, why are some of you still waiting for stores like Target to get that CD you wanted since 50 years ago, when you can listen to it on YouTube? At this point, the only reason why an older person would get mad at reading my prior statement, is because they actually have no idea the plethora of of musical enjoyment you can experience by using streaming services. And to stay being offended is just stupid and silly. If people of my generation would make the effort to use streaming services, we’d have more playlists created by us, and for us. Perhaps our classic culture would not be as forgotten as it is now. Oh f&ck it, what’s the sense of our classic music being on these services, if our memories of them are wiped clean from memory? Because we don’t listen to them anymore?
  • Playlists have now become a racket. I saw someone on twitter mention something I didn’t even think of. That was huge streaming service paying musicians to create music for the expressed purpose of putting them on playlists, and misguiding the public by making them appear as being the hottest tracks. Now, on the surface, they’re not breaking any laws, or breaking any sort of moral conduct (technically). However, we can look at this in two ways. The first way is services like Spotify could potentially make more money by putting together a team to write and produce their own songs and make money. I guess there is nothing wrong with that either, however, that also means that well known professional veterans in the business would be cut off from making money if their music are not on promotional playlists. Realize that any playlist that are created by services like Spotify, will be immediately followed by several thousand people in a matter of days, just because it’s Spotify.
  • The last problem I think are many of the most popular music blogs. Many of them (if not most of them) are not musically diverse, or lack articles of classic music (regardless of the genre). If someone were to ask me how would I describe the music coming from some of these music blogs today, I wouldn’t know how. Honestly. Many of these artists/bands I hear from these music sites such as BandCamp, sound like they were in a drug induced creative moment (for lack of a better term). The nerve of those artists at BandCamp to think that music fans should be paying upwards of $15 for some of  their work. While the internet has leveled the playing field for artist, and made them “equal opportunity,” on the other hand, it opened the flood gates for people who have absolutely zero professional talent. Don’t let me even get started on the rap genre.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of talent out there, they’re just incredibly hard to find now. Not only that, with the changes in algorithms in both search engines and social media, I’ve noticed that a few legitimate music blogs are no longer easily found either! The truth of the matter is, unless you’ve been using streaming since its inception, a lot of people wouldn’t even know where to go! I think my old self rule still applies today. Depending on where you’re getting your playlists from; if a playlist has more than 75 songs in it, its more than likely not worth listening. Playlists needs to be manageable, and easily consumable. No one has the time to listen to a 5,000 song playlists. It’s more than likely that playlist is just a marijuana fueled album dump. In fact, do you realize that even services that allow you to create stations from songs you’re listening to, don’t put that many songs on a playlist (unless you have unlimited or infinity turned on). Bottom line, I guess playlist are still a vital way to find new music on the scene. Just remember to be selective and diversify the sites you visit, unless you really dig the site you’re on. Like mine!! 🤣 emoji

As a child, over several decades ago, I used to love, LOVE listening to the radio. The music culture was so different back in the seventies and eighties. It was such a wonderful time because the type of music culture we had really allowed us to discover new and interesting music every day. But today, a feral cat can literally put up a music video on YouTube and become a viral hit! Don’t get me the wrong way; I’m not one of those old farts that thumbs down every single music past year 2000. I’ve heard some darn good music recently. However, we can’t ignore the fact that the internet has changed the quality of music in so many ways unbeknown to the average music listener. Of course, our individual tastes has a LOT to do with it. On the other hand, back in the day, a lot of artists with potential where coached, trained and groomed to be that performer/band that we knew and perhaps still love today. I think this is one of the reasons that so many “old timers,” such as myself, that’s been listening to music for so long we’ve developed an ear for music quality. People like me have come from an era where music truly was about art; but today music is about shock value, and doin’ anything to get attention. Regardless if you’re talented, or even like music. Although it is common knowledge that the music industry had a hand in destroying music culture as we knew it; however, their greed for “that money maker” filtered the airwaves and prevented us from hearing music that would be less desired by the general public. I do believe that like it or not, there was a formula to what the labels were doing. It’s just their unchecked greed fucked it up for everybody.

The radio used to be essential when it came to discovering new music

When I was growing up, there were only two real ways of finding new music we loved. Listening to the radio, and or, going directly to the music store and listening to what they were playing. Music was so serious when I was growing up, that most record stores would play portions of an album for you, so that it would help you make your decision as to whether you wanted to by a record or not. But, today most record stores I grew up with are not defunct. The radio stations are now practically on repeat. Repeat because most stations are now fully playlisted. Even if a studio has a live DJ, they’re still using pre-selected playlists. I’ve mentioned this before…. A playlist (at least in the context of radio), is not the same thing as hand-selected music. There is a difference!! Most, if not all playlists that come from radio are automated, based on algorithms that pullout songs by record sales; and do not take into consideration the various music culture, neighborhoods, or even emotion. Music today are selected by robots.

Automated Playlists Hinders Further Music discovery!

Now we have a new problem with playlists. That problem is what I call cycling. See, I realized that there are only a set number of songs per given time frame or radio segment. In other words, if you’re listening to Internet radio, the selected playlist will play again usually in a 2 hour time span. On a “live radio station,” a playlist will get replayed about every 6 to 8 hours. Some times they’ll even shuffle the same playlist. What’s bad about that is, it’s become harder to find new oldies, because there is no effort to use a human DJ. A seasoned DJ. This brings up an important point, on how interesting it is (if feel) that now music streaming services (not youtube) are more important than ever! Why? Because huge streaming services such as Spotify and Apple/iTunes have complex algorithms that really do learn the type of music you like, therefor now becoming the best ways of finding new music (customized to your tastes).

Hey guys! I’d like to quickly write about something you may or may not be aware of. It’s about converting your albums and playlists from one streaming service to another. Awhile back, I’ve written a little bit about a site called soundiiz. Soundiiz is a site that allows you to convert all your playlist and albums from one popular streaming service to another. Example, converting all your Spotify playlist to your new Apple account; or all your playlists from Youtube to Pandora; or iHeartRadio to Amazon; etc, etc. It’s important that streaming users be aware of sites like soundiiz, because streaming is here to stay, and from time to time it may be necessary to change back and forth between services. You don’t have to be chained, or obligated to stay with a particular service any longer.

There are also a number of conversion sites that convert specifically song and album links for use with social media. One of them is called SongWhip. This will convert any streaming link (including YouTube) and convert it into several services to be shared on social media, such as Twitter & Facebook. Very easy to use. In fact, I’m contemplating using SongWhip instead of direct Spotify links. Using sites like these truly makes music universal. I encourage other bloggers to use sites like SongWhip, because not only is it free to use, but it puts all streaming users on the same page.

Man….. It’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged. A lot has happened in my personal life in the last 6 months. I had (and still have) many personal challenges to deal with, and it has caused me to leave blogging for awhile. Don’t worry, my passion for blogging music has not left me ( despite the occasional need to take a break every once in a while). The good thing is, my financial circumstance has changed a little bit, and looks like I’ll be able to afford to keep my blog active! YAY!! 🤠 I really hated having to deal with the very real possibility of shutting down my blog. I’ve done so much bloody work designing, coding, and writing my own content. However, those worries are no more. At least for awhile. Interesting enough, I see I still get what I consider a sizeable amount of visitors, given the fact I haven’t written anything or advertised in quite a bit. I even removed my link from twitter. It’s nice to know there still exist people of my generation who not only are thirsty for nostalgia, but are savvy enough to know how to use technology to find the music they desire. No need to be pissed off at your brother for not returning favorite coveted album 30 years ago. Or mad at your sister in-law who accidentally sat on your only copy of James Brown album, and cracked it 100 pieces. You can just look it up on YouTube, or use your favorite streaming service. We may be old, but we’re not incapable of learning something new. Especially when it comes to finding music. It’s fun!!

In truth, this blog wasn’t just about preserving music history; or about saving our lost Black music culture that most parents have failed to introduce many of their children. Not all music is “devil music.” If you knew the kinds of truly vulgar music that would be coming, I bet a lot of you would have tried harder. Anyway, it’s also about me feeling technologically relevant, while using this same technology to revitalize our ethnically musical past! I spent (I don’t know how many) hours on my computer researching better ways of having a healthier relationship with social media in relation to my blogging. If you can’t see or feel the massive change within internet culture, you must be out of your mind. Those of us trying to do something positive online has to now figure out new ways to tell our story, as the cancel culture still continues to push on with vengeance. I’m trying not to let this discourage me, but I also know bloggers shouldn’t have to be working so damn hard to do what we love. If you’ve started on social media from 2010 and earlier, you’re one lucky bastard! It was so much easier for us then. The algorithms were fair, and chances are you got followers galore! Now, everything is entirely different if you’re a blogger or a public personality. Speak to you guys again soon.

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