Buying music—digital or physical—seems to be a thing of the past, as music streams continue to climb and sales fall. There are so many streaming services that offer different perks and exclusives that it’s difficult to choose. Apple Music? Tidal? Spotify? As of March, SoundCloud has a premium option as well.
Artists and industry bigwigs have been weighing in with their opinions on the best ways to release music. Last week (August 31), 300 Entertainment’s Lyor Cohen told Complex that streaming exclusives are harmful to the consumer; a day later, Metro Boomin chimed in, tweeting, “Apple Music, tidal, Spotify, Pandora, whatever you use, my album will be instantly available and accessible for you. Because thats the point.”
Yesterday (September 6), in an interview with Pigeons & Planes, A$AP Ferg was pretty clear about his feelings on releasing music. “I guess that’s the new way of doing things too, like randomly dropping shit because of how kids is just downloading shit now. Before you used to have to promote, promote, promote, because you used to have to almost sell it to them before the product came out,” he says, adding, “Everything is getting produced so fast and everything is so fast.”
Ferg also notes that he wants his music to be available to everyone, and not exclusively on one platform. “I like my shit to get out to the masses as much as possible. I hate when you put out a project and it’s like ‘nah I ain’t ever heard that.’... for me, I’m still growing so I still want the masses to hear my music. I don’t know if I want to make moves like that now.”
Music that’s only exclusive to certain streaming platforms has drawbacks; if you haven’t paid for access, you might not be able to listen to a project until seven to 14 days after its release. And that poses a problem for fans and musicians alike: As Ferg pointed out, there is an enormous amount of turnover in music. Something that’s relevant today might not be tomorrow.
Perhaps then, we’ll see a shift away from exclusives, more for the sake of the music than anything else.