Music Streaming to Explode in 2014?

That’s what the Wall Street Journal says.

The number of music-streaming services is set to explode next year, as record labels have warmed up to the idea of renting consumers access to a vast collection of tunes, rather than selling them individual albums or songs.Dozens of companies—from household brands to music-focused startups—plan to begin offering new services in 2014, according to companies that they have hired to help launch and operate them.

In some ways, the new crop will differ from Spotify AB and its existing competitors, most of which provide unlimited access to 20 million tracks for about $10 a month. They will also differ from custom radio services like Pandora Media Inc. and iHeartRadio, from Clear Channel Communication Inc., that let users create “stations” based on their own taste.

Next year’s models will feature more genre-focused services, which can bring down the subscription price because of the narrower catalog. A niche service could charge as little as $2.99 a month, while others might allow fans to subscribe for just a week at a time. Some may offer discounted access to music catalogs by not including new releases, said Frank Johnson, chief executive of MediaNet Digital Inc., a Seattle company that will help bring more than 50 new streaming services to market next year.

The aim is to bring a wider range of consumers into the world of music streaming, which remains far less popular than downloading music from online stores such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes or Inc.

Niche-based services?  Interesting, but I still think we’re in for a wave of consolidation in this space sooner rather than later.

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 38550 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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