Taylor Swift’s recent decision to remove her music from Spotify had the Internet in an uproar. The 25-year-old pop/country singer has released many chart topping songs and has a sizable fan base. Her decision to stop streaming her music stems from the injustice she perceives in the streaming music industry. In an interview with Yahoo, Swift claimed, “I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free”. While streaming services are not actually giving music away for free and artists are still being compensated for the streaming of their songs, it is true that the compensation is significantly less than when selling their music.
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The effects of Swift’s disappearance from Spotify is still unknown. However, it is clear that the streaming music industry is here to stay. Millennials, aka Generation Rent, love the flexibility that comes with unlimited streaming music. Purchasing albums and songs can become a thing of the past as consumers can now enjoy music when they want and where they want at the low price of a monthly subscription.
Spotify is far from having a monopoly on the streaming music industry. A noteworthy contender is Sony Music Unlimited, a streaming service designed to connect with PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices, in addition to Sony products. These streaming music options come in addition to Pandora, Rhapsody and many other services that allow users to stream the music they want the way they want it.
Naturally the rise of these streaming music services has negatively impacted the digital music sales industry. While the decline in CD sales is nothing new, the steep decline in digital music sales is directly correlated with the increase in streaming music subscribers. This shift in how music is being sold benefits the consumer more than the artists, who receive a much smaller commission off of one streamed song compared to one song purchased digitally.
The music industry is definitely headed in a different direction. Just as iTunes revolutionized music sales, so too will streaming services like Spotify and Sony Music Unlimited. However, if artists follow Swift’s lead in protesting this streaming revolution, it is unclear how such services will continue. Will Millennial preferences be enough to outweigh artists demanding higher compensation for their work?
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