"U.S. Music Streams Topped a Trillion in 2019" say the Wall Street Journal.
And here's Pixel Envy's comment:
if you’re passively listening to music, you’ll just stream it because you don’t have to pay more, but if you want to make your music listening an — and I am already regretting this word choice — experience, you’ll pick up a physical item with presence.
Conflating art and business in text is not a new thing, and industry-shaped articles end up in the worst possible double-speak — they tell the investors to invest in this business, and they lure the artists to inject their works of art into the industry, in search of audience.
It's a real problem. Spotify pays the artist $0.0045 per streamed track. Less than 5¢ for a 10-track album. Even less goes to the artist because of payment agents, digital representatives, etc, before tax. The work drowns in noise. Signals don't reach us. Physical distribution doesn't solve much of this, just the numbers are different.
That's OK. Likes are fake. Numbers don't matter. Middlemen take the money. But there exists, between a free download and a low cost digital purchase, space for action where you — the listener — can absolutely make a difference, by sending an unequivocal signal in support. The direct purchase from the artist is the strongest message of "I admire your work, please keep going". It's not subjected to performance indicators (those are for investors), it costs the price the artist set; a small number of purchases could add up to a material difference — a new noisemaking toy, cover a small necessity, or just grab a hot drink to hold and contemplate which side we're on.
But above all else, the signal comes through — loud and clear.