Opinion: Students should actively support their favorite musicians

Thomas Dunlap, Opinion Columnist

College students who are subscribed to any paid music streaming service should find an alternative way of repaying some of their favorite musicians for the hours they have listened to their music.

On Texas State’s campus, students walking to class can be seen listening to music. Because of the extreme ease and convenience of streaming services, students can—and will—listen to music in almost any situation.

With over 47 million monthly users, Spotify is America’s second-most popular music streaming service. 26% of users are aged 18-24, making college aged subscribers the second largest demographic in Spotify’s user base.

Many college students take advantage of Spotify’s premium student plan, which is an affordable $4.99 a month and allows students to listen to millions of songs offline and ad-free. For less than the price of an album, subscribers are given near unlimited streaming power.

Unfortunately, musicians receive a very small amount of money per stream, making it difficult for many of them to support their musical work. This is why any avid music listener should make an effort to support their favorite artists by either attending their concerts, buying their merchandise or purchasing physical copies of their music.

Musicians make the majority of their money while on tour, so an easy way to help support them would be to simply attend their live performances. San Antonio and Austin are popular stops on many artists’ tours, making it rather convenient for Texas State students to see their show.

While at the show, students should purchase some of the artist’s merchandise. It is common for musicians to sell fashionable shirts, sweaters, tote bags and other accessories for a somewhat reasonable price, and they often receive a larger return on these items.

Students should also consider purchasing a physical copy of their favorite albums. Not only does this practice reimburse the musician for their hard work, it enables the student to avoid some of the disadvantages of music streaming services.

When a student owns a physical copy of music they do not need to worry about having internet connection to stream their music library.

Spotify boasts a music library of over 50 million tracks and three million artists. But according to Quartz, Spotify only pays out $0.006 and $0.0084 to musicians for every stream. Musicians very rarely receive 100% of the money generated from their streams, usually dividing the profits with their record label, publisher and other various entities.

At this rate, an artist would need to accumulate over 400,000 streams to earn an amount similar to the average monthly minimum wage.

Students who utilize such an inexpensive service have no excuse to not have room in their budget to help support one or two of their favorite musicians.

Thanks to the revolution of music streaming services, today’s college students consume music at a higher rate than ever before. The average Spotify subscriber listens to music through the service for over two and a half hours each day, accumulating to 75 hours spent on the app each month.

However, despite the technology to listen to music at almost any time and place, it is clear musicians receive very little to almost nothing for their work. Because of this, students who find themselves frequently listening to music should make a meaningful effort to help financially support a few of their favorite musicians.

-Thomas Dunlap is a journalism senior


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