The face of the music industry has undeniably changed over the last decade. The internet has done its part to make physical disc formats almost obsolete, to the point that many Mac computers don’t even come with a CD drive anymore. The rise in streaming services proves that instead of making individual purchases, listeners now want a comprehensive catalog of choice.
However, it might surprise you to hear this, but the music streaming industry isn’t as foolproof as its rise in popularity might make it appear. Finding the balance between royalties and profit is an area where many streaming platforms have run into problems. With so much uncertainty, how can we know what music streaming will look like in one year?
These are the questions we’re asking right now and the answers as far as we know them.
Will Music Streaming Survive the Year?
Apple’s iTunes once held the blueprints for music streaming, launching in 2003 as one of the only online platforms where you could download songs. However, with the recent release of Apple Music, it’s clear that even one of the biggest tech companies in the world is feeling the need to shake things up with its music services.
2016 has been drenched in rumors of change for almost all streaming platforms. Some of the biggest and most long-standing companies have been talking of selling, catalogs have been chopped and certain services, such as Last.fm, have introduced charges and content restrictions for users in different countries. Similarly, several big-name artists have started boycotting this type of distribution in an attempt to hold on to the record industry of the past.
However, as always, the world of music has proved resilient, and while there are some significant changes coming our way, it doesn’t look like we have to rule out music streaming anytime in the near future.
Will Apple Take Over the World?
Known for spreading their power over every facet of the entertainment industry and gobbling up innovative new companies on their way, Apple has already bought out several music technology franchises. Their own updated music streaming service, Apple Music, remains notably average in terms of features yet has still attracted over 10 million subscribers. Earlier in the year, the company was rumored to be in talks to buy Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal. Though that merger now appears unlikely, if this quickness to merge with up-and-coming business endeavors continues, we may just see the company become king of the music streaming world.
What Will Become of SoundCloud?
SoundCloud has been in our periphery for years. As a platform that covers a unique and necessary gap in the market that gives new talent a cost-free platform to share their work and build up their fan base, I don’t think anybody was expecting to hear that the company is looking for a buyer.
Many have raised fears about what this will mean for service. For independent artists, the reach it allows is invaluable, so its demise would be a significant loss for the industry as a whole.
The platform has always been free to use, so one can only assume its current struggles come from failing to drum up enough financial gain from artist subscription fees and ad revenue. The company has yet to find a buyer, but it seems clear that if SoundCloud does manage to survive the year, it won’t be very long before we’re going to see a subscription fee introduced for its usage.