By Kimani Coye
It is no secret that consumers have shifted away from purchasing single albums or buying a song on iTunes. As music has become more available because of new audio technologies, consumers sought to keep up with an overwhelming amount of content. The solution? Streaming services. Just pay a cheap monthly fee for access to tens of millions of songs and other cool features.
A few years later, and streaming services have revolutionized the way we choose to consume and completely dominate the music industry. With many options to choose from, it is important for consumers and music lovers to pick the right service to fit their needs while supporting the artists they love.
The most popular music-streaming platform, as it stands, is Spotify---a Swedish company. They arguably have the most friendly UI (user interface) that is consistent across all platforms (IOS, Windows, and Android). The service also hosts extremely complex algorithms that match consumers’ tastes to striking accuracy along with tons of curated playlists to fit any general mood or genre one would want to listen to. The service also has a unique partnership Genius, a website dedicated to lyrical analysis, that allows consumers to dig deeper into lyrics, such as cultural context or a play on words. Also unique to Spotify is the ability for consumers to see their own streaming data and habits through sites such as Spotify.me and Wrapped2018. Unfortunately, Spotify pays one of the lowest streaming rates in the industry, at $0.006 per stream, which is then split among the record label. Because of this, Spotify doesn’t have as extensive a library as other major music services at only 35 million songs. Some argue, though, this won’t matter for most major artists, but is still a significant gap.
Despite the numerous streaming services that have been springing up across the market, Apple Music is the only service that is coming close to competing with Spotify, especially in the United States. In the U.S. alone, Apple Music has topped Spotify as having the most paying subscribers. This is largely due to the reliability of the Apple brand as a household name and the fact that it takes advantage of Spotify’s major weakness. To begin with, it has a major partnership with Beats 1 Radio Show that allows listeners to tune into live radio broadcasts with curated programming for every hour and gives artists a platform to share new music. Also, unlike Spotify, there are full lyrics available for each song to follow as they listen along. Lastly, while Spotify has a highly sophisticated algorithm, Apple continually emphasizes professionally curated content.