What Direction Should Music Streaming Services Take?
Since their introduction in the mid-noughties, streaming platforms have unquestionably changed the music industry. It is not a secret that music platforms such as Soundcloud, Spotify or Apple Music have brought enormous success to many musicians. Streaming platforms gave an opportunity to musicians to gain a broad audience and increase their fanbase. In addition to that, listeners can access their favourite music anytime they want to.
While some of these effects are still being argued, particularly regarding the money that reaches artists and composers, music lovers are eagerly paying money into DSPs for access to music. And a large portion of that money makes its way to the music industry, perhaps not as equitably as some would want. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry praised streaming services in March to bring recorded music revenue back to where it was 20 years ago. More than a few sectors of the music industry are content with the status quo.
In a world with fast-altering user expectations, tech-based services must stay adaptable, and streaming platforms — with their large user bases and income streams – appear to be set up to encourage rapid innovation. People want to receive new updates and new features, as the world changes very fast, and they get fond of the old characteristics. However, one objection that may be made about western digital streaming platforms is that they all provide essentially the same primary service: unlimited music for a monthly charge.
The top streaming platforms show hints of enhancing their user experience: Spotify has made significant investments in podcasting. Apple Music continues to emphasize radio services. Amazon Music has integrated Twitch live streaming into its app. However, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that each streaming software offers a pretty similar experience to its users: a dark rectangle containing a large number of playlists. As a result, the experts of the industry were interviewed about what streaming platforms should do differently. Should they focus on improving their user-facing services or expanding their B2B offerings? Or, on the other side, they may need to make an effort to be more dissimilar to one another — and if so, how? Several experts want distinction and change, with many requesting more in-app experiences to enhance the fan experience and improve the artist-fan relationship. Below you’ll find some thought made by experts in the industry.
As Vickie Naumann, the principal and owner of CrossBorderWorks, states, the broad streaming platforms have evolved into utilities. Hundreds of millions of music fans have a free or paid subscription, and once people experience the simplicity, they won’t be able to imagine living without it. Large streaming platforms are already distinguishing themselves in terms of features and user experience and pitching podcasts as part of the content mix.
The digital music economy’s stability and maturity have created opportunities for additional unique services and experiences to emerge. The comprehensive streaming platforms serve as a new baseline for access to recorded music, and they shouldn’t have all of the bells and whistles. We need a wide array of techniques to light up music for fans because music is tribal and diverse.
Lara Baker, the director of business development of Songtrust, remembers the Music Producers Guild’s “Credit Where Credit Is Due” campaign, which lobbied to have contributor credits, which have traditionally been included on CD/record sleeves, made available on digital services so listeners could see who else was responsible for their favourite songs. So it would be a great initiative to provide fans more information about certain songwriters, producers, labels, etc.
Additional information about songs and albums has always been available through services like Bandcamp and SoundCloud. The recent introductions of Apple’s Behind the Songs portal and Spotify’s songwriter pages, and Notable site are steps in the right direction. Each fan wants to be more informed, so features like these may be enjoyable for them. The perfect streaming platform would be a platform that: allows artists to customise their profiles and communicate with their fans via the platform: this would enable live streaming, artist-fan contact, virtual merchandise, and so on; can host song premiere events with live interaction between fans and the artist. This will encourage more people to become part of the platform to communicate with their favourite artists.
Robyn Kennedy, the senior sync of Bucks Music Group Limited, mentions that in reality that streaming platforms have a lot of room to grow their services and collaborate with rights holders, writers, and musicians to give listeners and creators a better experience. Maybe tiered subscription fees would allow them to offer audiophiles and super fans better and exclusive content without raising the introductory subscription price for those who want access to music.
Seeing curated information that enhances the music listening experience can be very pleasant for listeners. And there are a lot of people who would be willing to pay more money for it, especially if I knew the musicians would get a bonus. When it comes to connecting music fans and strengthening ties between subscribers and the artists and music they love, streaming platforms and labels working together continue to be a source of innovation. A lean-in approach was more typical in the beginning when super-fans were the primary subscribers. Many platforms have since evolved to offer more discovery and lean-back experiences and features, giving fans a “sliding scale” based on their listening patterns.
As DSPs move toward giving a better experience, there’s a huge opportunity to increase artist and listener engagement and loyalty. Subscription services must continue to evolve. Services have a tremendous opportunity to change, and market pressures will drive them to do so. There are so many technological updates in the world, that companies should keep up. The surrounding marketplace has changed dramatically since Spotify first began a decade ago. So in the future, fans should wait for more updates and excellent features.