Streaming may be the dominant method of music consumption, but it does not tell the full artist story. Take Tyler, The Creator, who has never been one to stay "on trend" in order to rack up large play counts. According to GoldLink, who recently spoke with Joe Kay on Soulection on Beats 1 on Apple Music, neither of those things matter because Tyler is doing something meaningful and great with his music.
"When I was with T, he was like, 'I never get played on the radio, I don't do this, I don't do that. I've never charted, but I can do...' His festival is incredible!" Link said. "Everything he does works, because he means so much more than a fucking stream or trend. He really matters to people because what he does is great."
GoldLink's comments are spot-on. Tyler, The Creator's music does so well because he creates space for people to be themselves. He quite literally tells Black kids to be who they are, and it works. People connect with his message and come out to his events en mass.
Having such a passionate following, selling out shows and throwing festivals to major success—that is worth its weight in gold and is far more important than charting or getting playlisted or earning radio play.
Let Tyler's success be a lesson: you do not need Spotify or Apple Music or the radio to connect with people, what you need are an earnest message and good music. All things equal, good music will always endure.