Have music streaming services made albums irrelevant?

Six months ago I conducted an experiment. I was dissatisfied with the way instrumental soundtracks I had created (for low to midlevel independent video games) were performing on iTunes and Spotify. Because instrumental music generally does not generate track sales I was not breaking even on distribution fees. I had also spent the last several years studying software development, so I had some ideas about the programming logic to run a music streaming network. Feeling that I had nothing to lose from past unprofitable releases, I decided to re-title my music from a number of projects and repackage them as one large lump “album” and upload through my distributor instead. I omitted the names of the original soundtracks and picked an album title with several popular music genre keywords. I also used free stock art and my personal name as the artist rather than any kind of moniker.

I did all this to test the importance of quantity and keywords as it effects music steaming services. Would this be more effective than releasing the original game soundtracks individually and marketing the music on the strength of those brands? The answer was a surprising and resounding “yes!” Halfway through the renewal period I was already turning a profit. I was onto something. So what exactly is happening here? I have some ideas.

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