A couple of years ago, no one outside of a few hardcore users of Pandora was interested in “renting” music by paying a a monthly fee to a streaming music service. Those who said that streaming was the future were shouted down.
Well, that’s not the case anymore as more people figure out that streaming is a fantastic way to gain access to more music than they could ever hope to afford. (Yes, some of us will continue to buy music–digital files, CDs, vinyl–but only for the releases that we want to possess. But even hardcore buyers have to admit that streaming is a super-economical and efficient way to sample before you buy.)
The streaming music arena is getting more and more crowded, too. Beats, the latest to launch, has Spotify square inits sites. Then we have Songza (my favourite), Rdio, Slacker, Deezer, Rhapsody and a dozen or so others.
I think it’s good that consumers have a lot of choice at this point. It gets them used to the idea of streaming. But in the long term, the centre cannot hold. While the better services will be able to stand on their own, I predict that there will be mergers and takeovers by…well, big broadcasters or companies like AOL. There has to be some kind of consolidation in this space.
Billboard takes this look at the state of the streaming music