Music: Music streaming faces challenges

Posted by Kevin Piaskowski on Monday, Apr. 1 at 8:00 am.

Music has changed quite a bit over the years, especially with how rapidly modern technology has been developing. First it was compact discs, then it was mp3s and the iTunes store, and now it’s streaming services where the idea of owning any music is a thing of the past.

Although these streaming services, like Pandora and Spotify, are conceptually enticing, they lack several key components that keep paying customers distant. For one, these services don’t provide a feeling of ownership. Take Spotify for instance: if you choose to go ad free and pay the monthly fee, you’re only paying to allow yourself to listen to the music. For some music listeners, that poses a significant drawback to buying into these services.

According to an NPR article, “Music-streaming services have been trying to win over two types of customers: a younger generation that doesn’t buy at all and an older generation that still likes owning physical albums.” Younger generations, like our own, have grown comfortable with the idea of not paying for music. We’ve been spoiled by file-sharing networks. Older generations, like our parents, love the feeling of having a physical product. It’s a difficult challenge for these streaming services, and it may be a costly one if they don’t figure out a way to convince these demographics of the benefits of their services.

Moreover, the New York Times reported that Apple is planning on developing a service that would rival existing streaming services and further complicate competition within the growing field of Internet radio. Apple plans on creating a product that would send streams of music customized to users’ tastes. Not only do these streaming services need to compete for more customers to salvage their bottom line, they now have a looming threat of Apple stepping into their market.

Streaming services have a challenging road ahead and as technology continues to change they may find themselves in even more challenging positions in months to come. Only time will tell what the next medium of music consumption will be.

What’s your take on this issue? Do you use streaming services or do you prefer physically (or digitally) owning music? Let us know!