When Napster ravaged the music industry back in the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s, record companies tried desperately to fight back. Unfortunately, coming up with a viable sales alternative to counteract the illegal music circles growing larger and larger online proved to be more of a problem than expected.
Fortunately, a group of forward thinking individuals recognized that digital downloads and streaming, the very process that had created this problem, could be a way out of the current decrease in revenue from pirating. They realized that if people were given legal digital access to quality recordings of music, they would be willing to pay.
Founded in 2006, Spotify pioneered the concept of streaming plans, allowing people to have a monthly subscription and access to thousands of artists. It has successfully grown to more than $1.5 Billion in revenue, even with some dissension from artists, like Taylor Swift, who removed her work from the companies catalogues in 2014 because of royalty issues,
From L.A. to Calgary to New York and Beyond
Now, thanks to suppliers like Apple and Spotify, music streaming has millions of paying users providing revenue every year. According to experts, the U.S. music industry will be able to record back to back growth years in 2018. This is an event that has not happened since the decline that started in 1999 when Napster opened up shop. Bruno Mars’ label has generated its highest annual revenue in eight years.
First the IPod-Now the Smartphone
Increases in downloads are also thanks to the ability to listen on more devices than ever. Gone are the days when your handbag or backpack contained multiple bulky electronics. Does anyone even remember the Walk Man?
Now you can listen to music, take a call and send a pic, all from the palm of your hand. Smartphones, tablets and even desktop apps allow artists like Drake to send his music to fans worldwide without his label having to worry about distribution and shipping costs.
Last year the Canadian rapper’s work was streamed over 4.7 Billion times just on Spotify. Many businesses similar to dent repair Calgary that used to play the local radio station in their place of business have now turned to streaming music for their staff and visitors.
More Damage Repair to Come?
Whether or not streaming is the start of a new era for music labels and their parent companies to profit from, for the music lover and obsessed fan, these days of easy access to the artists they love are a dream come true. Especially with more companies launching their own subscription services to better compete with the established companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Spotify.
Although streaming appears to be the industry’s latest knight on a white horse riding up to save the damsel in distress, after decades of fighting against illegal downloading and technological piracy, plus keeping up with new technology and evaporating sales, music executives know not to get overly confident about the days ahead.
According to Duncan Orrell-Jone of Slacker Radio, sooner than later having the catalogue is not going to be enough, “Five years from now the space is going to look very different.”