I recently heard that Apple is working with record labels to come up with something that is much better than what is currently on the market for streaming music like Spotify or Pandora. The funny thing is this new thing is very tight lipped and no one for sure knows exactly what this is. They have said it will include a steaming service but it will be much more than that. Being a musician myself and music lover, this sounds very intriguing to me.
The music business has changed tremendously over the past 10 -20 years with the widespread creating of digital distribution channels like iTunes and fantastic mp3 players starting with the iPod and iPhone. As you very well know, also alongside of the digital revolution there are a number of cool streaming services such as Spotify and and Pandora to name a few. The issue has been all along that the record labels were not early adapters of this new technology and lost allot of money as a result. To make maters worst, the laws about digital distribution and streaming music were also not very quick to get implemented and more money was lost. Unfortunately many musicians’ wages were cut as a result.
The RIAA puts out interesting statistic reports about sales and services related to music. The mid-year 2014 report shows that streaming music services grew a staggering 28% in the first half of 2014 to $859 million, from $673 million for the first half of 2013. Digital downloads went down from $1,486 million in 2013 to $1,305 million in 2014. This is very interesting, as it seems that people are still downloading music but there is a trend toward paid music streaming. Here is a link you want to take a look at the report of the midyear stats for 2014: http://riaa.com/media/1806D32F-B3DD-19D3-70A4-4C31C0217836.pdf
OK so now you know some stats about the music biz let’s get back to Apple. They want a larger piece of this multimillion dollar market. They are taking the right approach by working with the record labels to come up with the next generation of music distribution for us.
Being an app developer this may mean some additional opportunities for us. Maybe we will be able to work with this new system through an API and put apps together that will enhance the user experience. Maybe there will be opportunities where we can create apps for independent non-signed artists to distribute their music to this service. One thing for that is for sure, this will be an exciting time for music lovers and musicians (like myself) and, hopefully for app developers.
So I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Are you currently using a paid streaming services for your music or do you just use the free steaming with Pandora or iHeart radio (I frequently use these services)? Do you use the paid XM service and finally, what do you think this new service that Apple will actually do besides streaming and how do you think this will enhance the music business as we know it today?