Streaming subscription services are becoming a more popular method of listening to music in a wide range of demographic groups yet those of us in the business of networked music regularly debate the ‘streaming vs owning’ model.
There seems to be no doubt that the online subscription model works well, the key issue of being forced to have an online connection to listen to the music has been removed now with streamers such as Spotify offering some degree of local caching.
The technology has more challenges within the business environment where quality of service needs to be higher yet perhaps over time and dependent on the stretch of quality broadband business background music streaming may become more viable.
But in terms of consumer sales there seems little doubt that streaming is the best solution to the changing dynamics of music sales. For artists it offers a more direct route to fans yet the playing field will always have its heavily invested artists gaining more traction than those with no marketing budgets. For artists they need to get used to earning very little per listen for the model to work for everyone and use the service partly to generate some income but also as a way to develop relationships with fans that they can commercially develop further with other products such as merchandise and live shows.