The Rising Popularity of Music Streaming

Streaming music on networks such as Youtube and Spotify is dominating digital downloads and album sales. Other popular services include Pandora, 8tracks, Soundcloud, and iTunes radio. Music streaming networks can either be used for free but with commercials, or they can be used with a monthly payment of around $8-$10. According to Midia research, a research company for music data, in 2015, 37 million people around the world are paying for streaming music, while 210 million are listening for free on advertising-supported services. While streaming music has some shortcomings, such as required Internet connections and poorer audio qualities, consumers seem to love the convenience and value proposition that stream networks bring. As of 2014, there were only 2.7 billion downloads, but there were an extraordinary 163.9 billion online streamings. Online streaming services are the most popular among people in their teens and twenties because of their affordability and wide variety.

Out of the most popular streaming networks, Youtube and Spotify are used the most in the United States and in Europe. Spotify is arguably the most popular subscription-based music streaming service in the world and is great for listening to all the songs for one artist, but Youtube provides music videos and a bigger range of music than Spotify does. The wide collection of free, accessible music online is a big benefit to those who do not wish to buy a trendy song. Christ Church sophomore Davis Vergnolle says, “I like Soundcloud because you can search your own songs and make playlists without buying them. It is better than buying a song that you’ll be tired of in two weeks.” Another student believes that “you do not have to do things illegally anymore to listen to free music.”

For the artists themselves, the money earned from Spotify is far less than the money earned from downloads. Taylor Swift removed all of her albums from Spotify, claiming that she did not receive enough revenue from the service. She believes that albums should be purchased more and that streaming services are contributing to the decline of album sales. If you like the idea of supporting your favorite bands financially, it’s worth noting that artists receive a higher amount if you simply buy their album instead of paying Spotify to stream it to you. For example, Lady Gaga earned only $167 for roughly 1 million plays of her hit song “Poker Face” on Spotify. Sophomore Julia DePiero says that she is not “supporting the artist through streaming” and that she only listens to songs bought from iTunes.

As of now, music streaming is increasing in popularity, and it is the easiest way to listen and discover a vast selection of your choice of music for free.