Dream Theater's Rudess: 'Streaming Services Won't Allow Creative Musicians to Survive'

"It's easier to get the music out there, but how are you gonna make money off of it?" the keyboardist asks.

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Sharing a pessimistic stance about music streaming services, Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess noted that although technology significantly helps musicians with promotion, it cripples them financially, resulting in a complete lack of creative musicians.

Chatting with Metal Shine Blog, Jordan initially stressed that he truly appreciates the modern technology, but still can't help pointing at its drawbacks. "I can't help but be really upset about the fact that it seems harder than ever for a young band to make it," he said. "Maybe it's because there's just too much stuff and too many ways and people get lost and don't know where to look for a band. It's such a wash of stuff and you're looking at this service and that service, Spotify and Bandcamp."

Focusing on streaming services, Rudess continued, "And you hear about the kind of money some of these streaming services pay the musicians and it's really, really concerning. I have Spotify and I listen to it and I think it's really cool, but as an artist starting out, that's really upsetting.

"The world, the industry has to rethink how that's going. It's not gonna allow creative musicians to survive. It's easier to get the music out there, but how are you gonna make money off of it and how are you gonna get anywhere? Everybody I talk to is basically saying or agreeing that it's just harder."

Back in December, Spotify made their payment details public, confirming $0.007 pay per song. In general, this reportedly results in $3,300 monthly income for a "niche indie album" and a $425,000 monthly cheque for a "global hit album." Details here.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    People only wanna buy what they know is good, they're not going to risk their (albeit small) amount of money on a creative song that they might not like and thats why "artists" like Miley Cyrus and Imagine Dragons are doing so well; their music is safe, same old boring music for everyone to hop on
    And this isn't new, it was the same way before the internet. My friends and I shared music via cassette tapes and then decided if we would like to buy something or know something more about the artist. Part of the problem I think is that there is just way too much out there to listen to that it becomes hard to identify with any band in particular. Further, it doesn't seem cool to be into one style of music, you must listen to everything. Screw that, metal ftw!
    This is not a pessimistic stance, UG, it's really the truth. And, did you know Jordan is 57? I can't believe that
    I wonder if they'll keep playing until the rest of the guys are in their 60s, pushing Jordan over the 70 mark. I can't imagine a guy that age playing a 3+ hour set every couple nights, but Dream Theater without him is pretty difficult to envision at this point too.
    Paul McCartney is 72 and he plays 3 and a half hour shows every night and they are awesome gigs. Rock stars sometimes don't slow down.
    Good point. I always think of Rush as the benchmark, and they're still going at ~61. Good to think both bands may still have at least another decade to play.
    And don't forget Springsteen, that man is crazy on stage.
    Great points all around. I've seen both Rush and Springsteen in the past few years, they both put on phenomenal shows. Back to Rudess and DT, there are three members of DT 50 or older (labrie, Mangini and Rudess). I can see them going for another 10-15 years, though the music may go through a few stylistic changes by that point, a little less metal perhaps.
    I have to agree with Jordan. As an EDM producer, I need the cash to get studio equipment. It's been getting easier to get my music out there, but how can i gain a little profit doing what i love?
    Are they trying to make $3300/mo out to be bad or something? Because I'd kill to make that kind of money right now. I wish my music were good enough for Spotify.
    No, $3300 isn't bad. But when you take into account splitting that among band members, it may not be a whole lot.
    Well I'm glad DT streamed their most recent album, it allowed me hear how cliched and uninspired it was before I wasted my money on it. And the cheapest tickets for their last tour were £45 before booking fee so I didn't bother watching them live either.
    While I don't entirely agree with your stance on the new record, I have to agree that that's a huge reason why people like myself download and stream. We care too much about music to sink money into something we don't believe in.