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The year is 2010. You’ve just purchased your new, high-tech iphone 4, and are sitting patiently at your computer waiting for the arduous iTunes syncing process to wrap up. After an hour, you’ve been daydreaming about how nice it would be if you could just pick up a new phone, and instantly start jamming out to your favorite artist. You call up your friend from the house landline to pass the time and aggressively complain about the obnoxious iTunes platform. Your friend laughs, and says two words: “Try Pandora”.
And so began your journey, the same as millions of others, into the world of music streaming. One year later, Pandora, the world’s first massive online music streaming service, would IPO at a $2.6 billion valuation, sending shockwaves across the music industry.
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It’s now June 2018, and just two months ago, streaming giant Spotify IPO’d at $29.5 billion. What does this tell us about the state of music in the modern age?
For the average consumer, downloading music is a thing of the past. Even Apple, the king of music downloads at the early stages of the digital age, has converted to streaming with their “Apple Music”, sitting at the top of the industry with the most subscribers out of any service. In 2017, streaming sales were more than 3x that of either digital downloads or Physical purchases (CDs, Vinyl, etc…).
AND THIS ALL MAKES SENSE.
At the peak of iTunes’ popularity, you could purchase an album for just under $10. Now, for that same price a month, you can listen to 100x that many albums. As technology progresses, our lifestyle’s become more and more convenient. Why would a student pay $5 to listen to 5 songs, when they could pay that and listen to 1000s of tracks?
Despite constant reports that artists are being paid egregiously low royalties for their streamed music, a cause being championed by heavy hitting celebrities such as Jay Z, this haven’t put a dent in streaming sales. Users recognize the issue and agree that these artists are being paid too little, but the absurd amount of convenience that comes with these services is too tempting to ignore.
Streaming is here to stay, and trend reports indicate that it will continue to grow at lightning speed. If you haven’t hopped on the streaming train yet, it just might be time for you to start.
I am currently a Student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and will graduate in 2019 with a major in Psychology clustered in Neuroscience, and a minor in Business Administration. I intend on moving into the music industry after college and eventually getting into talent management, A&R, or event management. No matter what I choose to do, I strive to be a part of pushing industry innovation further than ever before.