Monday, April 15, 2013

The Hidden Cost of Convenience

Ever notice how with convenience often comes hidden costs?  It seems that with complete innocence we hunger to have our needs met in the most affordable, least time consuming way. However when we take a closer look at some of the services and products that fill our lives, we find hidden costs that put individuals, the environment and our future at risk.

In the music world, this is unfortunately no different.  Take Pandora Radio for example.  Amazing service right?  Right.  Pandora has created something that very few other music services can duplicate... an automated recommendation engine that literally streams endless amounts of music that is strikingly similar to what you already like.  It's free if you don't mind the ads, and very cheap if you'd rather have uninterrupted music.  An excellent way to enjoy listening to and discovering music online and it works well for yoga teachers, massage therapists, and other wellness professionals as an easy alternative to spending time hand-picking music for use at work.

However, as an artist, to earn a monthly minimum wage in the US ($1,160) via Pandora, I would need approximately 4,000,000 song plays. (Yes, that's four million).  Yet, if I were to sell around 230 albums via Yogi Tunes I'd make the same amount of money.  Now, I can't exactly live on $1,160 per month but there's definitely no way I can expect four million plays on Pandora per month.  If I was getting that kind of air time my name would be Justin Beiber and I wouldn't care how much I was making off royalties because I'd have 9 super cars, 12 houses, a private jet, a super yacht and would make more in one hour than most musicians make in their entire life time.

Yogi Tunes is a music service that has drawn a firm line in the sand around compensating artists and DJ's both for their hard work in bringing excellent music to the yoga community and beyond.  We pay DJ's a fee every time their mixes get published and offer a profit sharing model for both DJ's and artists if their music gets used in our subscription plan.  We then pay them more money for the retail sale of their music and try our very best to support independent artists and DJ's by marketing them and their music free of charge.  Sure, we hope to create a revenue stream that allows us to create financial stability in our own lives, but we're always doing it with the creative people in mind who power our service.

So the next time you're craving convenience, it's always worth looking behind the ease of use to make sure it's genuinely fair trade and good for everyone.  It's not always the case that it's bad - I'm not saying to distrust innovation.  Just asking (myself included) for some awareness around whether or not it's good all the way down the line.

Alex King-Harris
Yogi Tunes Co-Founder/CEO

The following graphic is an excellent tool for understanding the current state of affairs in the world of music royalties:

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