In a nutshell, it all depends on if you’re a music consumer or a creator of music. The Guardian takes a deeper look.
If you wonder what the person next to you on the bus or train wearing headphones and looking at their mobile screen is listening to, it is probably the new radio – a streaming service.
According to the music business body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Britons streamed 14.8m tracks last year, almost double the 7.5m of 2013, as internet connectivity improves and becomes pervasive.
Compared to buying music downloads, streaming services have a number of advantages. Listeners can range over millions of tracks – the “universal jukebox”, create and share playlists socially, discover new artists effortlessly through “artist radio”, and listen anywhere (even downloading temporarily for times when their smartphone gets no signal).
This year Apple is expected to muscle in on the scene using the Beats brand it bought for $3bn in May 2014, as is Google’s YouTube, which last November launched a paid-for, ad-free music and video streaming service, YouTube Music Key.
Snapchat, best known for its self-destructing photos and videos that are a hit with teenagers, is also planning a music feature, according to emails leaked as part of the hack of Sony Pictures. A partnership with the music video service Vevo could be incorporated into future versions – which surely helped the Silicon Valley darling raise another $485m, valuing it at more than $10bn, in the past few weeks.
Sometimes it seems as if everyone is planning a music streaming service, just as a decade ago everyone down to HMV and Walmart offered music downloads.
But unlike downloads, musicians do not universally love streaming.
At the start of November, Taylor Swift removed her new album and back catalogue from Spotify and the other streaming services, having complained in aWall Street Journal column in July: “Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free.”
Continue reading. (Via Gaz)