Some fans thought it would never happen, but the Bob Seger catalog has finally come to Spotify and Apple Music. 13 of the singer’s most popular albums are now available to most streaming services, with the exceptions being Tidal and Pandora.
The interesting thing here is not that Seger made it online at all, but what may be the reason for the change of heart. Apparently many of the singer’s biggest albums like Beautiful Loser and Night Moves were not available anywhere at all even, as a physical product. That wasn’t a problem when Seger’s songs were staples on FM radio stations everywhere, but the world has moved on, and so as the airplay. As a result, the royalty stream for Seger had pretty much dried up.
Seger and his manager Punch Andrews have argued for years that the royalty payout from streaming was too little, but that’s where the audience is today, and even a little of something is better than a big lot of nothing. The strategy was that Seger was always an album artist, but since streaming is a singles format, his music would be incompatible.
That strategy always seemed flawed however, since radio was only playing Seger’s singles anyway, and since his albums weren’t all that available in recent years, his audience weren’t listening to those either.
That said, Bob Seger may be the last major holdout from streaming, as The Beatles, Neil Young, Garth Brooks and Pink Floyd have long since released their music online, and have made money doing so (especially The Beatles). It’s yet to be seen whether the same happens with Seger though, as his profile has been far lower than the others, and there doesn’t appear to be an PR campaign to make the fact of his streaming works known. This is worth keeping an eye on though, if only for a historical perspective.