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Music Streaming

What you need to know

On this page you will find information about:

  • Pros and cons of streaming
  • Streaming revenues

Subscription-based streaming services are gaining a real foothold in the digital music market. For consumers, the benefits of streaming are profound. For the artists who create the music, meanwhile, the advantages are far less clear-cut.

Music-streaming services are accessed via PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones, using client browsers or plug-ins. Music streaming can be broadly separated into two camps: non-interactive, like a straightforward Radio 1 online stream, and interactive, such as the on-demand services offered by the likes of Spotify, Napster, Mog, Deezer, Rhapsody and Rdio.

These on-demand services enable users to browse tracks by artist, album, record label, genre or playlist. They can be accessed for free if users are willing to tolerate advertisements. Alternatively, users can usually sign-up to an ad-free premium subscription service for a monthly fee of between £5 and £10.

Streaming revenues

Despite some artists’ concerns, there is evidence that streaming could provide significant revenue for musicians in the future. More users are migrating from the free ad-supported music streaming to the premium subscription-based service, which reaps higher revenues per stream.

Once subscription-based users reach critical mass in the market, say industry observers, then revenues can equal and even exceed those of downloads.