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Streaming Is Taking Over Pop, but It’s Far From Flawless


Jay-Z, who heralded the arrival of Tidal in 2015, has become one of the most high-profiles faces in the music-streaming business.

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in pop music criticism, trends and news.

The music business is moving toward the streaming model, despite all sorts of protestations — from performers and songwriters, who worry about their bottom lines; from fans, who worry about ease of use and unfettered access to their favorite songs; and increasingly, from streaming services themselves, who spend investors’ money more rapidly than they can rake in revenue.

Seemingly every major streaming service has suffered through some controversy lately. Spotify has been accused of stacking certain playlists with musicians who are, more or less, fake — their songs (and the performer names attached to them) exist only because Spotify has commissioned them. It is also the target of rights holders who allege the service doesn’t adequately compensate them. SoundCloud has been reported to be running out of money. Tidal remains on the fringes, in spite of the successful release of the new Jay-Z album.

To discuss the myriad hiccups in the streaming ecosystem on this week’s Popcast, Mr. Caramanica was joined by Ben Sisario, the music business reporter of The New York Times, and Joe Coscarelli, the New York Times’s pop music reporter.

Email your questions, thoughts and ideas about what’s happening in pop music to popcast@nytimes.com.

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