Years from now, people charting the history of the music industry will look back at 2016 as the year streaming reached a tipping point. While none of the services is profitable yet, the revenues they generate for record labels already exceeds what they make off paid digital downloads. And plenty of labels saw big rises in profit, thanks to the kind of coin streaming is generating for them.
Next year is going to be even crazier. Pamela points us to this article at Fast Company which outlines seven predictions from the world of streaming in 2017.
Last year was another eventful one in the history of music. And that was no surprise.
In 2016, the music industry saw its first signs of true growth since the internet started ravaging it a decade and a half ago. By mid-year, labels saw revenue grow 8.1% over the same period in 2015, fueled mostly by an explosion in subscribers flocking to services like Spotify (40 million subscribers) and Apple Music (20 million). Indeed, in early 2016, we learned that streaming had officially become the industry’s biggest source of income in 2015. While revenue from downloads and physical album sales both continued their years-long decline (by 14% and 17%, respectively), streaming revenue grew 57% during the first half of 2016, and since then, all signs have pointed to continued growth. This is good news for record execs, but what it means for artists and streaming platforms—which each have their own contractual relationships with labels—remains to be seen. As the pie grows, expect to see intensified battles over how it all gets divvied up.
There were also big changes within the streaming landscape itself. Amazonand Soundcloud launched Spotify competitors. Apple polished up its existing service with a new interface. Pandora also unveiled its premium subscription service, expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017. For those keeping count at home, that’s three new subscription services in one year, on top of the three that launched the year before (Tidal, Apple Music, and YouTube Red). Despite all the new competition, Spotify has held onto its dominant role, growing its listenership and flexing its playlisting muscle with more in-house curation and data-powered personalized playlists like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Your Daily Mix.