Ethical streaming service?

I’m curious.

A subscription of $£€20/month clearly isn’t enough to pay artists decent royalties.

Would you be prepared to pay for an “ethical” streaming service which ensures fair royalties paid to all artists no matter how (in)famous or unknown?

If so, how much?

Would this service include the Roon interface?

No, irrespective of Roon, what would you be prepared to pay for a streaming service which paid fair royalties?

[assume a reasonable UI provided by the service and that the service is integratable into Roon and other software products]

Let’s also assume that it’s a competent streaming service with an arbitrarily large catalogue, and that it streams to the same quality as TIDAL (i.e. CD and MQA).

So, is the equivalent of buying one $10 CD or download per week ($500/year) too much? And, if so, why?

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A great question.

Personally, I don’t think I’d pay more than I do right now for Apple Music because I still buy the stuff I like for my permanent collection.


I only use streaming services (Tidal and Qobuz) to discover new music that I can buy and download. I spend a lot more than £1,000/year on downloads. That’s how I support the artists I like. There’s only locally stored music in my Roon library. I occasionally buy CDs, too.


Would people consider Bandcamp an ethical streamer. I realize they don’t have the required full library to replace Tidal.


I’d be more inclined to pay $20 a month for some niche service, which might have incidental ethical benefits . With all the buzz around ECM arrival on streaming services I can’t help but wonder if a label like that could roll out their own service with some added exclusive content at a premium price. I don’t know the business, just a customer! I’d love a service even more geared to hip hop than Tidal. Deeper catalog, 12” mixes, oldschool mix tapes (Tony Touch!) in lossless quality, instrumentals, better organized, more lyrics, more high res.

@lorin I think if the said streaming provider also provided provenance to what they streamed, would help it sell as well.

I should add one more thing, for those who support bands by going on to buy physical discs or downloads.

What if the royalty element of your monthly subscription was guaranteed to be distributed only to those artists whom you have played that month?


It’s not going to make me want to stream instead of purchase if that’s what you are asking?


I’d still prefer to “have”/“own” the albums I like. I love streaming services, but only as a way to broaden my musical horizons…


If the music companies let more of their streaming revenues pass through to the artists then the problem would be reduced. How much? I don’t know but the likes of Spotify are not making a profit today.

If I ever found an “ethical recording company” I’d consider it, but that’s the hurdle. For now, I’m at $20 to Tidal and an occasion purchase.

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Whilst stealing from the artists.

After mulling it over, even on my limited budget I could easily budget $40 for Tidal if that’s what it cost. I’d give up Netflix before giving up lossless streaming. So if an equivalent service offered Tidal + the fuzzy feeling of actually supporting artists, I don’t think I could ignore that possibility. As much as I’m iinclined to be snarky and say there is no ethical consumption in this late stage capitalist world of ours … frankly, I just pirated way too much music as a teenager connected to the internet starting in the mid 90s… $20 more a month for absolution? Sure.


“ethical” streaming - it’s a businessman’s argument, but, if they can get 50 cents more, then they can get 50 million…

I think that a subscription of $£€20/month is more than enough for decent royalties for ethical artists!

For crying out loud…

$20 / month is my limit.

If there were a service that had a LOT more classical content, I might re-evaluate (e.g., if a service like Qobuz were available in the US and offered lossless streaming integration through Roon), I would consider up to $30 / month, but that’s my absolute top.

That’s the only place it should be going. Royalty payments should also be equitable.

When I last read the bandcamp terms they seemed to me to be pretty reasonable: in exchange for a relatively small cut of each album sold they host the content, run the store and allow streaming of purchased content to any device. I’ll always be more comfortable buying the album, whether cd or download, for the simple reason that I know it’ll be there when I want to listen to it. Streaming services in their current form instil me with no confidence re longevity of content or their business models.


I’d be happy to pay $1200 a year, if I could somehow know I’d be guaranteed to have access to the music 24x7, in the same quality, forever (as long as I subscribe).

The thing that feels wrong about paying a lot for streaming is knowing that the service could disappear or pull content at any time. Or the distributors could add audible watermarking. Or they could drop the quality of the streams…

If I buy a download, then I know I’ll have it to listen to, as-is, for the rest of my life.