Who would have guessed that the music industry is at the strongest it has been since the early ’00’s? According to the RIAA, streaming services are to thank for that. Increased music subscriptions are the reason streaming services like Spotify, Apple, and Tidal are getting your money. There has been an 8.1% increase over the total revenue from last year. That is the most revenue since the early 2000’s and is set to rival revenue from the early 90’s.
The 1 Billion + subscriptions is set to make up for the decline in purchase of physical media, which might be eventually phased out. Purists might say, “nay,” but the younger generation already looks at the CD like we looked at 8-track. This rapid growth in subscriptions shows that streaming and downloading is the future of music. Despite everything it’s been through, the industry is set to prevail as kids’ stream their favorite songs on YouTube and Spotify.
From Tyga to Chance the Rapper, artists are increasingly signing up to certain streaming services, exclusively, and streaming is now a valid way to go Gold and Platinum. Instead of paying $14 for one CD, you can pay $10 a month for a streaming service and listen to many albums freely. It’s just convenient for all involved. You can find and consume as much as you want, unless it is exclusive. We used to torrent CDs but now, that is unnecessary because we can simply stream most music for a small fee. Exclusive contracts, however, might eventually mean the decline in a need for record labels. Universal Music Group has even banned the practice due to the claim that it is “anti-competitive.”
For years, free Internet radio was our entry point to streaming services, with Spotify and Pandora giving us free music with some ads. Now, along with the record labels, those services like Pandora, Amazon and iHeart have to be ready to face the challenges of updating with the times. The results will be lower prices and offline services to stay relevant in the wake of this changing landscape. Though piracy is still an issue, the money is pumping back into the system. Streaming has a steady hold on the overall market, and for better or worse, it has altered the course of music forever.