Four ways to be a better music listener in 2019

By Peter Zemeske

In the age of music streaming, music has been easier to access and listen to than ever. While there may not seem like there are any cons to services like Spotify and Apple Music, there are some hidden byproducts. For one, artist compensation is low compared to physical mediums. Spotify pays artists a mere $0.00397 per stream, according to Digital Music News. The way people consume music has changed as well; with such a wide catalog at one’s fingertips, it can be hard to listen to music in sizable chunks. Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, here are some ways to help support the music industry and improve listening habits.

  1. Choose the right streaming service – For those who opt to stream their music as opposed to physical mediums such as vinyl or CDs, there are plenty of options to choose from. Streaming services pay artists featured on their app by the number of streams played by members of the service. The highest paying service on the market right now is TIDAL, a service founded by rapper Jay-Z in 2014 which prides itself on fair artist compensation and lossless audio. The lossless audio membership is more expensive, but is the best streaming quality available. There is also a student membership for $4.99 per month, similar to Spotify’s tier.

  2. Listen to albums, not songs – A huge aspect of streaming music is the way people listen to their music. Listening to a song is just a few clicks away. Songs and individual singles are the new unit of music and full length albums have been put to the wayside. Artists still release albums, of course, but popular music favors bite sized hit singles for easy consumption over albums. Many artists craft albums as a cohesive experience, meant to be heard all the way through. By picking apart the album into individual tracks, the full effect isn’t achieved. Try listening to an album all the way through before listening to the singles in order to fully experience the artist.

  3. Expand into different genres – Everyone has a favorite genre of music. Whether it be heavy metal, radio pop, indie rock or anything in between, a go-to genre is an easy way to put on some tunes. However, staying in one or two genres can get stale after a while and by branching out into different genres or even sub-genres, the queue of music is endless. Your favorite band might just be waiting for you.

  4. Go to concerts / buy merch – Concert tickets and physical merchandise are artists’ number one form of income. By seeing an artist live, it is not only a fantastic time for the audience but the artist makes most of their livelihood that way. Also, purchasing band products shows off your music taste and helps the band out.