You’d be forgiven for thinking that this term has been around for eons. But only because of its relevance to discussions as the chosen one to save an ailing music industry, kind of like Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, and we all know how that ended.
Darth Vader and the Sith aside, music streaming has only really been around since the early noughties with services like Pandora launching in 2005. But the reason why the topic might seem so well worn out is because of how saturated the market is.
Super producer and Beats by Dre behemoth Dr. Dre and Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor are set to launch Beats Music, the latest piece in an increasingly large and confusing puzzle, to the US next week.
But what’s the picture on the front of the box? It’s a music industry that no longer worries about declining album sales and is accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world…for a price.
A monthly fee for users and apparently an increasingly dismal outlook for labels and their artists if you drink from the same half empty glass as the pessimists in the music media.
The problem Dre and Trent like many other streaming services have, is that whilst preaching the importance and monetary value of music they are themselves, devaluing it.
Where the piracy of music first made a wound in the profits of the music industry, streaming and the poor royalties paid to artists has rubbed salt in it.
The most famous streamer is Swedish company Spotify who pay a more than meagre £0.0037 per stream to the labels. Even worse only £0.0007 of that will fall into the artists pockets.
If Beats Music and other services in the future follow in the footsteps of Spotify then it would take over 27,000 streams of a song for a label to earn a pound from it.
These low priced subscriptions and even lower priced payouts to the artists are giving weight to the idea that music and the ownership of it is fast becoming a basic right.
Several of my friends take advantage of these streamers and illegal downloading to get hold of their favourite music without a pang of guilt when they do so.
Like clean water or the Internet most recently, the affordable ownership of music could become the next modern right afforded to humanity.
In this multimedia age where decades worth of great music can be accessed in seconds I wonder is music really a right? Or is it more valuable now than it ever was in the battle to save the industry?
Either way the simplest solution at the moment seems to be the one that was there the whole time. Pay for your music, and pay proportionately.