Adele decided from the get-go before the album released to not have the album be available on streaming services. This is a pretty bold move for any artist to make with streaming services, such as Spotify, which has over 30 million subscribers and 75 million active users in the world currently.
Adele has expressed in the press how she feels about the concept of streaming. She says: “for me, all albums that come out, I’m excited about leading up to release day. I don’t use streaming. I buy my music. I download it, and I buy a physical [copy] just to make up for the fact that someone else somewhere isn’t. It’s a bit disposable, streaming.” She also has explained how she "can't pledge allegiance to something that I don't know how I feel about yet."
Although Adele's points regarding streaming are valid, she makes no mention of how this might affect her fan base. Granted, Adele's views on her music and how it is distributed should take precedent, but doesn't she want her music to be made widely available to all of her fans, not just a select number who use iTunes, Amazon, etc.?
Music industry professionals have also recently made statements regarding how some artists in general withhold their music from streaming services. Francis Keeling, vice president of digital at Universal Music, said that artists withholding their music from streaming services risk "alienating their fan bases." Universal Music is also the world's most successful record label. Keeling also said, "over time, we're trying to convince our artists that streaming services are the right thing to do and these services should be supported."
I agree with Keeling's statements, seeing as how streaming services are becoming the normal way of people enjoying their music. I believe this won't be changing anytime soon as well. Therefore, part of me wants to believe that Adele is making the right decision, but she's shunning away part of her audience due to not allowing her music on these streaming services.
For example, my friends and I still haven't purchased the album, which came out in November of 2015. Although my friends and I are a small portion of her huge fan base, our age bracket (18-24 years old) is in her target demographic:
Just imagine multiple, small groups of friends not purchasing her music due to the streaming debacle. This separates Adele's music from some of her fans and only allows for a specific set of people to listen to her material.
Ultimately, will Adele eventually fade in the music industry due to her enabling her music onto streaming services? Most likely, no. If she keeps producing hit records like 25 then Adele will be around for a whole lot longer.
But, when comparing Adele to an independent artist, their views on streaming services are typically the opposite, because it's their main way of making a living while still connecting all fans to their music. Spotify recently put out a statement saying that independent artists typically make $700,000 a year via its streaming service. This number comes as a huge shock.
Therefore, even though Adele can afford to not use streaming services and still be successful, independent artists are able to connect with all of their fans while still being successful. This makes me believe that Adele should eventually adopt the mindset these independent artists have, so that all fans can enjoy her music while she still remains successful.
Adam Turney is currently an intern at New Music Empire. He is a third year at UCLA majoring in Theater with a minor in Music Industry. He is particularly interested in artist development.