The landscape of the music industry has changed so much over the last decade, particularly in the last few years. So much of it has gone digital and artists and labels alike have been trying to figure out how to sell music in the new internet era. The charts have changed, radio has changed, we have the new institution of Friday as the official release day of the week, and now all of these music streaming services.
Music streaming services have really made a surge. Initially it was internet radio and apps like Pandora that seemed to be taking off, but then Spotify and other like apps started to spring up. With Tidal and Apple Music coming into the mix, the question is becoming, what does this really mean for artists and consumers?
While artists will receive payment for streams, it will take a lot more streams to really make a significant amount of money. This would seem to lean towards artists who are already established versus up and coming, independent artists. And while it is cool to be included in the marketplace, how will independent newcomers be able to avoid becoming buried in it. Oftentimes on these apps you actually have to look for a lot of music. Only certain artists make it onto prominent pages. So the stakes are changing as consumers move more and more from actually purchasing music. What will be the next frontier for artists to make significant livings outside of endorsements?
While these are some concerns for artists trying to earn their livelihood, there are still other concerns for consumers. It is true, there are a large amount of people who just do not buy music. So in theory, streaming services only truly offer a significant deal to those who do. It is cheaper to get a streaming service package for $10 than to actually buy multiple albums a month. The downside becomes that that music is only there within the app and you don’t actually own the music. But on the flip side, you can look up whatever music you want, and if you listen to an album and find you don’t like it, no harm no foul. Still as the services are in competition they continue to strive to outdo each other by offering the best extras to their subscribers. It will be interesting to see who comes out as the best.
The top streaming services right now are Spotify, which still offers a free option, Tidal, which has come through with some great exclusives including the new Lil Wayne album, Google Play Music, Amazon Prime, Beats Music, Xbox Music, and, of course, the recently launched Apple Music. Those are the paid apps, there are still free options such as SoundCloud. Tidal offers student pricing, as well as exclusive content, live streams of events, and the option to purchase concert tickets. Apple Music will have a 24 hour radio station featuring different influencers.
Below are the prices for some of these services:
Apple Music: $9.99/Family plan for 6 for $14.99
Spotify: Free/Premium $10
Google Play Music: 30 Day Free Trial/ $10
Xbox Music: Free 30 days/ monthly pass $Sony Music: $10
Tidal: $9.99 per month for Premium/$24.99 for Hi-fi
Beats Music: Free trial/$9.99 a month/ $99.99 a year
Amazon Prime: $99 per year/ $49 for students
It will be interesting to see how this new industry plays out. We are very interested in what you all think about music streaming services, particularly artists. Talk your ish and let us know.