Spotify, a Swedish borne company developed back in 2006, has established itself as one of the leading music streaming services on the market. With competitors such as iTunes Radio and Pandora, the music streaming industry has become incredibly difficult for music services who are attempting to capture market share and pay artists fairly.
Spotify has been a target in recent months as iconic recording artist Taylor Swift with held her new debut album, 1984, from the music streaming service. And, Taylor isn’t alone.
Jay-Z has been battling his own challenges, attempting to get Tidal off the ground and attract users. Tidal is a music streaming service similar to Spotify with a competitive advantage rooted in better quality sounds. Jay-Z set out to provide a service by artist for artist, in an effort to redeem some of the lost compensations that artists have received over the years since the beginning of the web and the dawn of illegal file sharing.
With all these competitors entering the space, the question remains: Is Spotify (and other music streaming services for that matter) in trouble?
I think it depends on who you ask. The music industry has seen a drastic decline in record sales since the early 2000′s. The availability of information has made music far more reaching than it ever has been, but it also has simultaneously cut into the margins of the artists and their earnings.
Some fans argue that exclusive streaming services like Tidal only benefit established artists who want to make more money and that they don’t do enough to help rising artists reach potential listeners.
New artists have used services like Spotify, SoundCloud, and even YouTube to reach their fans in inexpensive ways. An artist or band that can generate some buzz online has been found to drastically increase its following and influence within its market.
Due to the volatile music industry, Spotify and others are going to have to continually update their services in order to better accommodate their users. An idea that Spotify could implement would be to create a section for local artist’s where users could connect to local bands in their immediate area using geotagging.
Each individual artist is going to find value in certain services that they don’t in others. If an artist wants to get their sound out there, they can use free services like Spotify, SoundCloud, and Datpif to share music to an existing user base and community.
If they want to be more exclusive, they can sell their albums on iTunes, or do a combination of the two. I think as listeners, we need to evaluate where the music we enjoy is coming from and support the artists in a way that enhances the current communities we love.