Long gone are the days where carrying around a cassette player or a walkman was the only way you could listen to your favorite songs. The cloud has revolutionized the way we listen to music, unlocking millions of songs that we can access with the tap of a button. If you have a mobile device, you can easily listen to your favorite songs on-demand, often for free.
With the popularity of smartphones at an all-time high, the music service is rapidly changing to adapt to this new cloud-based streaming service model. Streaming revenues are skyrocketing, and with so many premium streaming services available today, there’s a high-quality streaming option regardless of what device you use.
The future of the music industry is projected to change even more drastically than it has in recent years. With cloud innovations, new mobile devices, and a shift toward digital-forward marketplaces, let’s take a look at how music trends have changed and where they are headed in the future.
What Is the Cloud and How Does It Relate to Music?
The cloud is a powerful platform that allows users to access information, data, files, and so much more on-demand. Whether you use cloud platforms for personal needs, such as storing photos on your phone, or you use it for business reasons, such as enterprise-wide Google Drive storage, the cloud has countless functions and capabilities that can help us in our everyday lives.
As we mentioned, the cloud has also changed the way that we access music every day. The world’s most popular streaming services are primarily cloud-based, allowing on-demand streaming access to your favorite songs. Instead of purchasing individual albums or songs in a digital marketplace, a monthly subscription service lets you stream as much as you’d like.
The Changing Music Industry
To understand where the music industry is headed, it’s important to understand the music industry’s past. After vinyl albums and physical compact discs, the foundation of the digital music industry had interesting roots.
Let’s take a look at some of the first online streaming services, what’s growing in popularity today, and what might be available in the future.
Illegal Streaming Services
Some of the first music streaming services had questionable legality. You may remember popular services such as Limewire or Frostwire allowing you to download virtually any song you wanted for free. The torrenting services had millions of monthly users, all violating copyright laws with each and every download.
In fact, Limewire settled a lawsuit with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to pay $105 million in fines for copyright infringement. While these services weren’t providing music streaming legally, they were an important foundation for the future of the music industry and the transition to cloud-based platforms.
Next came iTunes, which really changed the digital music industry for the better. This music platform allowed users to purchase individual songs and albums digitally versus purchasing them in stores. The ability to purchase individual songs instead of entire albums was a crucial turning point in the digital music industry.
With songs ranging from $0.79 to $1.99 or more, users had the flexibility to pick and choose individual songs and export them to various MP3 devices, paving the way toward cloud-based streaming services on mobile devices.
Modern Streaming Services
Today’s streaming services are available on virtually any device that can connect to the internet. Some of the most popular streaming services include Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora Radio, Amazon Music, and more. Most of these services offer both free and paid subscription plans, each with their own levels of access and features.
With millions of songs available right on your smartphone, users no longer have to pay for individual songs and albums. This dramatic shift from physical albums and discs to on-demand streaming also shifted music revenues from brick and mortar locations to the digital marketplace.
Paid subscription services typically average around $10 per month, but can be more or less depending on if you qualify for a student discount or have a shared family plan.
The Future of Music
With so much recent innovation in the music industry, it will be exciting to see how the industry develops in the near future. Cloud technology has significantly changed the way we listen to music and we can confidently say it will impact the future of the industry in the coming years.
As mobile devices become even more enhanced, we’ll start to see connected device integration across smart home devices, automobiles, and so much more. With a strong foundation of success in the music streaming model, drastic expansion and access to streaming services on a wide range of new devices is the natural next step for the future of the music industry.