There are libraries of articles on the Internet covering the digital age of music. Most of them write about what’s happening and why it’s happening. Not too many write about what could be happening or what we should all expect to happen in the future. I guess this is understandable, considering there is still so much to cover from the past and present. Still, shouldn’t our curiosity tempt us to take a gander at what could be coming around the bend? As a music lover, consumer, blogger, entrepreneur, I cannot wait to see what the future holds in terms of the digital age. How will average users consume music in another decade? What will headphones look like? How will music tie in with our mobile phones in 2025?
I’m not going to attempt to answer all of these questions in one blog post but I would like to look at one component of the present and that is subscription based music services. Time Magazine did a piece earlier this year and compared the 13 top streaming services. See the chart below.
There were a few questions that entered my mind after reading this article. Why are there so many music-streaming services? There literally seems to be a new one popping up every day. Does it really call for this much variety? Why isn’t there just a few good ones or even one good one? Then my thoughts of the future took hold. What if there was only one or two, because they were so good they replaced the other 100? What would they look like? How would they conquer the negatives plaguing today’s streaming services? CNET does a great job covering the disadvantages of subscription services in this article.
Music Subscription Downfalls:
- Ownership: Ownership is number 1 in my book. Yes, you have access to more songs than you would likely have in your own library but you won’t own any of them. Nor will you carry any of the rights that come along with ownership.
- DRM: A subscription limits you to listening only on devices compatible with the subscription.
- Library Gaps: I don’t think there’s one subscription service available today that can claim completeness. There’s always something missing.
- Artist Compensation: It’s great for the consumer. Not so great for the artist. In fact most artist feel robbed by subscription based services.
However, what if? What if there was a way to bypass all of these negatives. What if someone could invent a subscription based service that had none of the aforementioned issues? Is it possible? I don’t know, but it’s something worth thinking about right? And, if this so-called super subscription based services did away with said negatives would it then reign supreme?
Peckham, Matt. (3-19-14). 13 Streaming Music Services Compared by Price, Quality, Catalog Size and More. Time.com. Retrieved from http://time.com/30081/13-streaming-music-services-compared-by-price-quality-catalog-size-and-more/
Moskovciak, Matthew. (1-27-14). Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, and more: How to get started with subscription music services. CNET. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/spotify-rdio-beats-music-and-more-how-to-get-started-with-subscription-music-services/