Should Artists Embrace Physical Records in the Streaming Era? 

Should Artists Embrace Physical Records in the Streaming Era? 

Gucci Mane recently released his sixteenth studio album, Breath Of Fresh Air, and furthered his promotion with a CD and vinyl signing event. In an era dominated by digital streaming, the question arises: Should artists continue to release physical records?

Physical Records Vs. Streaming

On Oct. 17, rapper Gucci Mane released his sixteenth studio album, Breath Of Fresh Air, with special collaborations featuring the late Young Dolph

Following the release, Guwop hosted a CD and vinyl signing at a record store in Atlanta called DBS Sounds. The owner, Tobago Benito, stated that artists should acknowledge the significant role that physical records play in their overall success. 

In this case, many argue that physical records contribute significantly to artists’ success, debunking the belief that records are “dead.” While streaming has become an ever-changing industry, statistics show that revenues from physical formats, such as vinyls, continue to grow. 

Is Streaming Even Sustainable?

According to the RIAA, vinyl records have outsold CDs for the first time since 1987 in the US, selling 41 million units in 2023.

Contrary to the sustainability concerns raised about physical copies, buying them actually helps artists. One user attested to this writing, “Many of u asking 4 best ways to support musicians. Coming to shows & buying merch is huge. Buying vinyl or physical records is super helpful. And theoretically the more people actually pay for streaming, the better it will get for artists.” 

To add in, former member of Danity Kane, Aubrey O’Day, revealed how the industry works regarding artists and the world of streaming. These platforms pay artists approximately 0.01 cents per stream, meaning a song needs to be streamed a million times to generate substantial revenue. 

Furthermore, the sustainability of physical copies contributes to the ongoing debate. Fans argue, where one wrote, “We need to keep buying physical media. (CDs, records, DVDs, etc.) Streaming is just not sustainable. You don’t own any of it.”

Is The ‘Tie’ Between MJ & Drake Truly Equal?

The art of streaming and physical records in music represents two distinct worlds. While streaming platforms have enabled artists like Drake to achieve unprecedented success and surpass records set by legendary artists like Michael Jackson, the nature of their achievements differs due to the dominance of different eras.

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