The Stream Scene

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Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Tidal. Chances are you are using at least one of these streaming music services; well maybe not Tidal. Does it make sense to own music anymore? Is it better to lease or buy music?

When the iPod first came onto the scene in late 2001, the way of the world when it came to music was the compact disc or ‘CD’. We happily plunked down $15 for a CD to add to our growing music collection. We even scoffed at older generations that had to buy their music on cassette tapes and records. There was no music store when the iPod came out. You simply had to “rip” your music to your computer before transferring it to your iPod. When Apple debuted the music store a couple of years later, a dramatic shift in the way we purchase and consume music began. But it was still a “buy” mentality. We just went from buying physical media to buying digital media. We still owned the music, albeit in a pure digital format.

music-timeline

The way we listen and pay for music is radically different than just 10 years ago. Streaming music services might seem like a “newer” form of music consumption, but streaming music services have been around since the early days of the Internet. It’s just taken a while to build enough momentum to establish itself as the primary means in which we listen to music. Of course, it also took a while for streaming music companies to work out a legal means in which to stream music to its customers. Still, legal battles ensue and some musicians will continue to fight this trend, but streaming is here to stay and it will make all other forms of music access obsolete. [Vinyl is still cool]

While I’m not here to review these services or even tell you which ones you should or should not use (I use both Pandora and Spotify), I will share some interesting statistics with you (as of July 2016):

Service # of Subscribers Music Catalog
Pandora 80 million 1 million+
Spotify 30 million+ 30 million+
Apple Music 11 million 30 million+

Source: NYT Article: A Guide To Music Streaming Services

Notably, I’ve left out a few services that you might think should be included. Namely, Google Play and Amazon Prime. While it’s possible these services could compete, this is really a race between Spotify and Apple. Pandora is working hard at staying relevant. They continue to have huge numbers, but mostly non-paying customers and are largely seen to be on the decline. I’m not counting them out just yet which is why I have included them here.

About the Author

Michael Puhala

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Instagram: michaelpuhala VP of WW Sales Engineering, @ Lithium Technologies, coffee snob, technologist & writer/podcaster @ Citizen Savvy. Also Airbnb host. He recently switched back to Windows after 16 years using Mac OS, and he's an avid Android user.