AmericanaFest panel addresses artists' love-hate relationship with streaming

Sep 21, 2016

Charles Alexander, Streaming Promotions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAVIGHURST)  --  The Americana Music convention is into its second day and industry issues are expected to take center stage.

Panels scheduled for Wednesday include a discussion about radio, the legacy of songwriter Woody Guthrie, and the controversial economics of digital streaming.

Streaming is something you’ve likely heard recording artists complain about. Specifically about how little they get paid when their songs get played. But the moderator of a panel on today’s agenda believes the conventional wisdom is wrong.

"What we've seen come through our Spotify payments has been incredibly significant," said Charles Alexander, co-founder and director of strategy for Streaming Promotions, a new Nashville marketing agency. "As long as you own everything, you're going to be just fine."

And there's the catch. He's talking about truly independent artists who own the publishing to their songs and the master recordings that play on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and the other streaming sites.

That's not how it's traditionally worked. Publishers take a share of the song royalty income. Record companies keep most of the recording payment. And what trickles down to the creators can be quite small.

But Alexander contends artists also need to view streaming as a critical vehicle for discovery. Chiefly through its curated playlists, which can result in huge exposure.

"Spotify has done a really bang up job,” he says. “If you know what you're doing strategically. It's a platform that allows discovery to happen in an organic and trackable fashion."

The two pm panel is called GET HEARD: HOW STREAMING HELPS ARTSITS. A representative of Pandora will be on hand as well as several artist managers.

Here’s a complete list of AmericanaFest events.