Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn has not been known to keep his opinions to himself very often, but in the age of social media, who does? This time Flynn speaks on the topic of music streaming and how, if rock and metal wants to actually survive in the modern world, it needs to embrace it and stop demonizing it.
Here's what Flynn had to say via Machine Head's Facebook.
Congrats to Drake for 9 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts. Can’t say I love the latest record, last 2 were much stronger, especially the one with Future, (love the tune “Jumpman”) but an incredible feat in this day and age. That is the power of streaming folks, I haven’t seen this weeks numbers, but last week his sales we’re only 33,000 CD’s, but his single downloads we’re over 200,000 and streaming numbers are astonishing. Over 105 million streams last week, and his single “One Dance” is pulling 30 million streams a week(!?) which all equaled out to 124,000 in sales
If you haven’t heard: The Billboard chart is now made up of 3 variables, CD sales, single song downloads, and streams = 1 album sale. Say what you want about streaming, but the overwhelming majority of the music listening public (which is not rock or metal) have spoken… in 2016, it’s a streaming/singles world.
Other Top 10 acts on the chart last week include Rihanna who had 30 million streams, and Twenty One Pilots with 19 million. Rihanna only had 8,500 actual CD sales, but single sales were 80,000, and her streams were 30 million, making her her total sales 37,000.
For a little perspective, the biggest rock act had just under 3 million in streams. At the rate we’re going, no rock or metal artist will have this type of staying power at #1. If rock/metal artists ever hope to compete in this day and age, we have got to stop demonizing streaming, and convince our fans to embrace it. The pop fans and hip hop community already have, most grew up in the post-CD-age anyway, or as the case with older artists like Jay-Z, have just adapted to the new game, and because of that pop and hip hop will continue to dominate the music culture.
For the sake of visibility in the world and being on the charts, I absolutely agree that streaming is definitely the future. While I'm a little muddy on the side of the artist and how that would financially work out, as a fan I'm still huge on the physical aspect of my music. I personally still collect CDs because I like the booklets and I like that I can control what quality files I have on my computer. They're also a solid backup should my hard drives ever simultaneously shit the bed (for whatever reason).
Should streaming be embraced? Probably more than it has, yes, but at the same time I personally find it difficult to say "forget the physical format." Not that Flynn is saying that we need to give up the physical format, but should the new game take a digital-only turn, it might lose a lot of people in the process.