All new technologies get misused at first. It’s not people’s fault. When a new technology is immature, people don’t know any better than to use it like the old technologies they are familiar with. It’s only logical. That’s what happened with typography, radio, television and that’s certainly what happened with the internet. When it came in our lives, we were all so eager to exploit, misuse, and, finally, abuse the freedom it gave us. Piracy, though never justified, was a logical progression. Before the internet, that’s what people were doing with the BBSes. So, they used the new technology like they were using its predecessors.
But now that the internet’s matured, it finally offers the only serious alternative to piracy. Music-streaming services seem able to finally turn the tide for the ailing phonographic industry. According to Billboard.com, Universal Music Group’s half-year revenue from music-streaming services was up 62.4 percent “which more than offset the decline in both digital download and physical sales”. What this means is that, although revenue from music sales, in physical and digital formats, continues to fall, earnings from music-streaming services increase at a faster rate. UMG saw its total earnings, before interest, taxes, and amortization, go up 3.7 percent year-over-year!
And it’s not just Universal. Spotify, the biggest provider of music-streaming services, reported an increase of its subscribers to 35 million from 30 million! Right now, the three biggest music-streaming providers Spotify, Apple and Tidal have a combined total of 55 million subscribers.
Combine that with the recent demise of popular pirate-hubs like KickAssTorrents, and the music industry may finally see the end of its decline.
And why not? With music-streaming, people are finally offered services that give a totally better experience than illegally downloading and sharing music files. For instance, Apple Music gives the listeners the option to instantly enjoy any song they like from its massive 30 million songs collection. Tidal, for a little extra, offers higher quality files and exclusive access to better artwork, while it promises better compensation for the artists who actually create the music. Spotify offers a free service that provides the listeners with music similar to their designated tastes. And with only $29.97 per year, Apple’s Music Match can match its subscriber’s music files collection, and create an equivalent library on iTunes which they can then access from anywhere in the world!
And these options will give people the ability to enjoy music in new and better ways. A friend of mine recently told me of his experience playing as a D.J. at a house party, with a paid subscription to Spotify as his only source!
So, for the first time in many, many years, the industry’s needs align with the audience’s wants and the providers’ offerings. Music-streaming offers a better experience for everyone involved. The numbers are solid. The price is low. Hopefully, our beloved industry’s rebirth is just around the corner.