Recently @johnkochnorthrup shared this interesting point of view on #music #streaming and how the "subscriber share" model seems to shift your dollars towards cheaters and bands that are already mega-popular.
Streaming Music is Ripping You Off
(It was news to me that fraudsters are using bots and phony bands to game the system and get free money, although I'm not surprised.)
In the publishing world, there is a lot of hand-wringing lately over Amazon's shift to a number-of-pages-read royalty calculation for their KDP Select exclusive offerings. Does anyone know how Amazon calculates the royalties? I don't. I won't place my stuff exclusively with one retailer (or publisher) unless they can reasonably guarantee income and offer reversion.
I also don't use #spotify or any music service. In fact, I recently switched music apps on my phone because the iTunes update shoved Apple's service under my nose every three seconds.
I also don't pirate, although I used to back in the day. The takeaway from stories like this is always the same:
If you like it, buy it. Support the artists making books and music. Be aware of where your dollars go. Don't be a mooch or a dick.
Now, you don't have to go nuts with it. You're the customer. Writers and musicians should serve you, not the other way around.
For example, some people suggest you should buy direct from the producer's website. That's nice of you if you know that's what they prefer, but you're not doing anything wrong by buying their stuff from a retailer or other platform where the producer has made it legally available.
I sell my stuff on my website. I get almost all of the money from any sale there, minus transaction fees, versus somewhere between 35% and 73% elsewhere.
HOWEVER, books are cheap and we're talking about cents on the dollar. Buying from some place like Amazon actually helps writers go up in the ranks in their respective subcategory, and if there's a steady stream of purchases -- Amazon's ranking algorithm rewards steady sales over time and discounts a big bulge -- then your purchase helps bring in additional sales, which in my opinion is much more valuable than 30 more cents on a single sale (or whatever).
So it's fair to do what's convenient for you, but be aware that shared-pool and streaming media models generally make it harder for those struggling to get going and reward cheaters and those already at the top. If you want to use Spotify or KDP Select as a kind of library or screening tool, great.
But seriously, if you enjoyed it, buy it.
And leave a review for the next gal. :)