The Black Dog produced a wonderful piece of self-reflective merch. The sobering message: you’d have to stream on Spotify 6500 times to match this one t-shirt.

The text reads:

One t-shirt is the equivalent to 6500 streams on Spotify. 76% of all music in 2019 is streamed and not bought physically or digitally. Band merchandise is the most direct way of supporting an artist.

We’ve heard this message before, but not reflexively on the actual merch. The resentment of mainstream commercial streaming is becoming a chorus – and electronic musicians ought to be specifically concerned, as people actively working with technology.

On the other hand, the implied irony here is that the shirt doesn’t have any particular artistic statement or anything to do with music. It’s a lament and an epitaph, in other words.

While musicians embrace download-focused Bandcamp (and some other services), this also raises questions about Beatport’s streaming offering. Beatport promises higher revenues, and says downloading will continue to complement streaming. We’ve yet to see whether that might offer an additional pathway for music, particularly since DJs tend to rely on downloads.

Here’s the shirt:

The Black Dog aren’t the only ones using t-shirts to protest today’s Internet economics. Artists, exhausted from images being automatically scraped from Twitter and then sold, are fighting back. The hack – hijack the spam sites by posting images complaining about the practice. Andy Baio has the story:

“This site sells STOLEN artwork, do NOT buy from them!” <3 😉

It all certainly raises awareness – though what we don’t have yet is a solution. Until then, the protests continue.