Ben started by sharing some good news – his band’s song had reached 25,000 streams on Spotify. Eric mentioned that it may have earned them about $0.20 and Ben decided to do some math to see how much that was. He calculated that 25,000 streams was equivalent to 800 streams per day for 30 days, which was the equivalent to almost two packed Lee’s Palace concerts in Toronto. 

Then we moved onto the issue of not getting very much of the money from ticket sales anyhow. The conversation ended with a discussion about how ad revenue goes a long way and is a major source of income for many people. The talk highlighted the importance of understanding the complexities of the music industry and the potential for exploitation.

The record companies negotiated with Spotify in the early 2000s to get a cut of the profits and have privileged access to playlists. The record industry is compared to a cartel that controls the resource of music, and we discussed the recent Wizards of the Coast debacle and how the community responded to this, showing that they are not willing to put up with such restrictions.

The updated Wizards of the Coast (WotC) license for Dungeons and Dragons-related content had people up in arms about WotC tightening their license, which could have impacted many businesses that had been built up around D&D content. We also tackled the recent developments with YouTube’s monetization system, which has been used to silence independent media organizations under the guise of misinformation. Ben shared his experience with Napster and how it gave him access to music that he wouldn’t have had otherwise, which he believes led him to become a musician.


Listen to select songs from bands mentioned in this episode, if you’re into that kind of thing.


Eric Cockrell (@erbomuck)

Ben Cook (@zahrahthustrah)

John MacLeod (@comicrawk)


0:00:05   “Exploring Punk Music, DIY Culture, and the Economics of Streaming”

0:03:11   Discussion on Music Industry Revenue Streams and Monopoly

0:05:29   Exploring the Monopoly of Music Streaming Platforms and the Impact on Creativity

0:07:37   Discussion of the Wizards of the Coast Open License and the Impact of the YouTube Monetization System on Independent Media Organizations

0:10:07   Exploring the Impact of Music Labels and Ticketmaster on Creativity and Innovation

0:15:31   “Exploring the Impact of Monetization on Creative Expression”

0:24:52   Exploring the Evolution of Punk Music: A Discussion

0:26:42   Conversation on Music and Access to Venues

0:31:04   “The Challenges of Supporting Struggling Musicians in the Digital Age”

0:36:55   Conversation on the Financialization of Music and its Impact on Creativity

0:38:50   Conversation on the Impact of Advertising on Music Production

0:41:10   Heading: Local Scene and Online Music Promotion: A Discussion

0:43:23   Conversation on Music, Algorithms, and the Internet

0:47:46   Conversation on the Benefits of Local Music Scenes and Opening Bands

0:50:21   Conversation on the Impact of Limiting Openers at Live Music Events

0:52:23   Heading: Discussion on the Benefits of Breaking Even in the Arts

0:54:57   Heading: Exploring the Difference Between Art and Product at the Zine Fest

0:56:35   Conversation with Lawrence Lindell: Reflections on Art, Creativity, and Intellectual Property

1:03:46   Topic: Music Copyright and Public Domain

1:05:54   Heading: The Importance of Supporting the Arts

1:08:43   Conversation on the Importance of Supporting the Arts in the Face of Financial Challenges


“I’ve recently listened to a bunch of pop music in my friend’s car when we’re driving to and fro. And a lot of it is like direct ripped offs of, like, stuff from the even the 50s that they’ve now repackaged because the copyrights have been purchased by someone else and they’ve repackaged as dance songs and slightly changed the lyrics.” – Ben on modern radio hits

“And this is the real crux of the problem for me. A dollar? I don’t know, man. It doesn’t make sense to me. Seems like I would happily be poor as a musician for the rest of my life if it meant that this industry thing would collapse.” – Ben on bringing down the system

“The advantage of the organic sort of local scene, is you’re not stuck in your box. And shows like that used to happen every day all over the place.” Ben on the local scene

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