Streaming music services accounted for roughly 75% of the industry’s revenue in the past few years. Although record labels might hate it, these services are quickly taking the world of music by storm.
The compact disc is dead as we know it. Listeners are now favoring a simpler and more cost-effective alternative that allows them more access to music than they ever thought possible.
Read on to learn more about the most popular streaming music services and what this means for the future of the industry.
The Streaming Music Services Takeover
Listening to music carries a huge amount of benefits for your overall well-being, especially if you’re feeling down or depressed. Until recently, you had to pay for it if you wanted to have it. Thanks to streaming music services, that’s quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Streaming music services have taken over the music industry, virtually replacing CDs and taking a huge chunk of market share from cassette tapes and vinyl.
If you take a look at what these services offer, it’s not hard to see why they’re making such an impact on the industry. They enable listeners to hear whatever they want without having to purchase it first.
Just like an MP3, streaming music services are available on most devices. However, they’re very different than your standard MP3 track.
Instead of existing as a digital file in your device, tracks on streaming music services are all hosted on the cloud, available for live listening anytime without requiring any downloads. It’s a futuristic way of listening to music and it’s very quickly becoming the overall norm.
Pros and Cons of Streaming Music Services
While streaming music services have plenty of benefits, there are still some quid-pro-quos to consider. While there are some drawbacks, it doesn’t seem to be stopping streaming music services from completely taking over the industry.
Freedom to Choose
The most apparent “pro” of streaming music services is the freedom they offer casual listeners and music lovers alike. It’s no longer necessary to pay for an MP3 or CD in order to check out the music you’re interested in. Instead, you have unlimited access to nearly all of it.
This is big news for people who want to grow their music collection without investing a lot of money. Purchasing albums can be costly, and this was a major obstacle before music streaming platforms existed.
Now, there’s the option of paying a small monthly fee in order to enjoy unlimited commercial-free access to just about anything.
With the freedom of streaming music services, the question of payment to the artists begs to be addressed. Yes, it’s true that your favorite artists saw a major pay cut in their record sales after these services became popular. However, that decrease doesn’t equal a drop in overall revenue for that artist.
Think of it this way: streaming music services have made music more widely accessible than it’s ever been before.
While the artists aren’t selling nearly as many records, they’re still seeing major increases in the overall popularity of their music. This equals more merch sales, more concert dates, and a much larger following.
Music artists are still working hard on their album releases, however, and that’s not looking like it’s going to change.
What we’re seeing now is a greater variety of projects from these artists, including major upgrades in music video production. The money in the market’s not dying; it’s just experiencing a shift.
One notable con of streaming music services is their inability to function without an internet connection. This can be especially troubling for those with limited mobile data on their devices.
However, many of these services offer download options in their premium packages for offline listening of chosen songs. This allows users to download their favorites on the go when they may be without data for a while.
On the bright side, there are a ton of public spots to find free Wi-fi these days. Especially if you’re in a bigger city, you’d be surprised where you can enjoy a free connection to enjoy these services.
The Most Popular Streaming Music Services
As the popularity of streaming music services continues to grow, more companies are coming up with their own unique platforms.
Depending on which you go with, they can offer a number of benefits, including access to exclusive music and automatically-generated playlists that can help them discover new content.
- Spotify is a huge music streaming platform with options for free and premium listening. Its free package offers artist radio and music shuffle options, while it’s premium package allows listeners to listen to whatever they want, commercial free.
- Apple Music is Apple’s answer to streaming music services. It offers a similar package to Spotify in terms of pricing.
- Google Play Music is owned and operated by Google. It allows free streaming and storage of up to 50,000 songs.
- Amazon Music is especially useful for people who already use the company’s Prime service. It includes 2 million songs with membership.
- Pandora is a popular free option for people who just want a radio station of songs that are similar to a specific artist or track that they like. There is a free version that contains ads or a premium option for ad-free listening.
- Soundcloud is a big music streaming platform for independent artists. This service allows music to be streamed and downloaded for free.
- Tidal is the music streaming platform owned by rapper Jay-Z. Some people choose this service because it offers some popular artists and albums that aren’t available anywhere else.
- YouTube Music offers access to music only available on YouTube. It offers a free version with ads or a premium package for ad-free listening.
Each of these services offers unique features for listeners to choose from. Many of them offer very low premium packages, too. The competition here is reassuring that these services will stay affordable for years to come.
While streaming music services come with their share of pros and cons, there’s no doubt that they are ushering in the future of the industry. Thanks to music streaming platforms, music is now more accessible than it ever has been before.
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