Music Industry

Are You Paying for Streaming Music? Why Not? (And You’re Not Alone)

While adoption of streaming is on the rise, the number of people actually paying for these services isn’t. Why? Let’s go to Music Business Worldwide for some thoughts.

Did you know less than 1% of the world’s population are currently paying for on-demand music streaming services?

The wider industry continues to hope that the likes of Spotify and Apple Music will provide salvation – and early signs from the Nordics and other territories certainly provide reason for hope.

But why are the vast majority of people refusing to put their hand in their pocket for ‘all the music in the world’?

New research out of the US from Nielsen Music brings us closer to the answer.

The research company has conducted what it calls ‘a comprehensive, in-depth study of consumer interaction with music in the United States’ for its Nielsen Music 360 Report– analysing the responses of more than 3,300 US music fans.

The Report covers a range of topics and provides reason to be cheerful: apparently 75% of US consumers now listen to music online in a typical week, for example.

There’s also a shot in the arm for radio.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37434 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

5 thoughts on “Are You Paying for Streaming Music? Why Not? (And You’re Not Alone)

  • I know lots of people that will try or use a streaming service (myself included) but the idea of paying for it? Nope! No one wants to. When we want to pay for it we want our own personal physical copy of the music. I don’t want to rent my music – ever!

    • The cheapest Rdio plan is $5/mth. At $60 a year, I save a crapload on music that I don’t want/need to own. Would have bought some and either not liked it as much as I expected, or tired of it.

      Also I can bide my time while I wait for imports to get here, or to buy from the band’s merch booth. As well I can more conveniently listen to stuff I have on vinyl that didn’t come with download codes, and away from home. I’m sure not making any tapes these days.

      Not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s great for me.

  • Understood… but as soon as you stop paying… you no longer have access to any of the stuff you “paid” for… and if/when “music service X” goes under (it’s happened to many already) you don’t have the music anymore… even if you wanted to keep paying.

    As such, I’ll never personally pay for streaming.

    • Guess my point ultimately is that I’ve saved more than $60 a year on music that I don’t need. If the service ever does go under, and I can’t simply switch to another one, I would still be ahead buying the music I do want then.

  • In the 2+ months of having Apple Music, I’ve streamed 2 albums. I won’t be paying for Apple Music. In that same period, I’ve spent hours and hours sampling tracks, albums and artists on iTunes. Some I buy.

    I have listened to Beats1 quite a bit, specifically the specialty shows; WRTJ, St. Vincent Mixtape, Rocket Hour etc. All of my music streaming is (otherwise unavailable) radio, or curated playlist type online radio. I would pay for these services.

    This is completely generational, but I feel no investment in the music (or artist) that I don’t have a true investment in.

    I won’t pay 9.99 a month upfront subscription fee, but I would pay per use, like an iTunes card. If my iTunes balance could be used to both buy and stream, I would use my balance/card to do both. If streaming services had a pay per use feature, maybe a few bucks for an evening or day or whatever, I would be more likely to do that. Stream this album for .69 cents? I’d do that.


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