The world is constantly changing and evolving with new technologies, meaning the music industry is always looking for new ways to keep up with the fast pace era of streaming. What better way to combat piracy and loss in profits than creating a platform where music is virtually ‘free’ to the public yet record labels can still make tons of money. Thus Spotify was born.
Spotify was founded in 2006, officially launching in 2008 by swedishish entrepreneurs Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. The company was inspired by Napster to create a “…new way to listen to music without the limitations of physical media or ownership.” ( producthabits.com pg 1). With the industry being down to 16.9B in revenue, it didn’t take long for Spotify to soar to the top of the streaming world in just a couple years ( techcrunch.com ). Spotify has evolved from just being a basic music streaming service to being able to stream; podcasts, the news, radio, and soon watch music videos and exclusive documentaries, all available on your desktop, mobile devices and even your tv.
This service is available either for free with ads or the user can pay $9.99 ($4.99 student plan and $14.99 family plan) monthly for a premium subscription with access to an almost unlimited catalog to choose from, it isn’t a question of how convenient the app really is (spotify.com info page). Being available in nearly 180 different countries and used by more than 150 million paying subscribers across the globe, Spotify will most likely keep growing as the years go by. For me, the only downside is the payout to the artist’s with their music on the app. In 2020 Spotify reported paying artists around $0.0003-$0.005 (songtrust.com) or 0.0018 (onyrix.com), which is absolutely nothing in the long run. But, this doesn’t stop artists from putting their work on it. For a while a lot of top artists, like Taylor Swift, tried protesting and removing their work until the pay got better but, quickly realized how great of an opportunity Spotify was, a way to share all music in a ‘freemium’ way (class notes) .
Spotify is currently the number one streaming platform in the world and has been this way for years. This goes without saying it has some competition, being SoundCloud and Amazon Music, to name a few. Some notable mentions being Apple Music and Tidal. Soundcloud holds a challenging position against Spotify, first being in the way they pay musicians. You get $0.010 per stream (onyrix.com) when you join the Soundclouds High Tier program. With artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Ski Mask, the Slump God and Pop Smoke it isn’t a surprise how big it got. But, since the mumble rap hype in 2018, their popularity has died down significantly. Secondly, in how much it costs a month for users: $4.99 for SoundCloud Go and $9.99 SoundCloud Go+. From personal experience I find their platform kind of tricky to navigate and finding the real songs that aren’t remixes or covers. Other than that, I can see how SoundCloud can help artists and fans stay connected and make money in the music industry.
Although Amazon Music isn’t as popular as the last platform it’s still considered a rival to Spotify and is offered at the same price monthly to consumers (whathifi.com). Their most streamed artists being Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Justin Beiber making this an easy access to mainstream music. One downfall to Amazon Music is that they are removing their music storage and I don’t believe they are offering a replacement (cnet.com). Amazon reportedly pays their artists roughly $0.00402 which is on par with Spotify’s payment system. With that being said it’s easy to say that Amazon Music will continue to grow and dominate the streaming industry.
Even with these competitors Spotify still remains as the top recommended platform to use and will continue to be.
Streaming music has opened the doors for many fans young and old to find their favorite artist and discover new ones. One band that skyrocketed in popularity recently is Motley Crue. Although they were hugely successful in the 80s/early 90s, their loud Hair Metal music was quickly wiped out by the Grunge era. Due to their movie ‘The Dirt’, they have jumped more than 9x their original daily streams, from 400,000 to 3.6 million streams a day (meaww.com). This was made possible largely by Spotify’s music catalog and its accessibility to find older artists.
Another contemporary artist who’s risen through Spotify’s ranks is Bad Bunny. The latin trap ‘god’ has scored over 47 million global monthly listeners and has made a large name for himself not only in the Latin music scene but in the mainstream genre as well. With this he became the number one most streamed artist on Spotify in 2020. It’s fair to say his success was derived from the streaming platform’s reach to other countries around the world.
Although streaming has helped many artists gain popularity, it’s safe to say that many have also fallen through the cracks, one legacy artist being Slash from Guns and Roses. Despite the fact that he has 3.5 million followers on Instagram, he only has one just over a million monthly listeners on Spotify. Slash for the most part is a wildly popular guitarist and songwriter from the 80’s and 90’s and still continues to produce work that is reminiscent of the old GNR music. His new releases can’t seem to rackup the streams needed to put him on Rock This playlist.
Jeffery Star, while controversial, still played a role in the early emo/scene kid genre of music. With over 13 million followers on Instagram one would assume his music would also be big but he only has 66,892 monthly listeners (spotify artist pg). He fails at connecting his makeup skills with his music. It’s safe to say that his music career with streaming will continue to decline into the next few years.
To conduct research outside of Google and other sources, I put together a quick quiz to ask my peers on what their favorite streaming platforms are and why. Some questions included; which platform was their favorite, why they use it, and how often music takes over their life. Another set of questions were “what kept them coming back to that platform? and how did they consume their music: radio, personal playlists, editor playlists or other.”
From what i had gathered Spotify ranked number one as expected with 3 out of 5 saying it was their personal favorite. Musi and Apple music tied being only 1 out of the 5 saying they preferred those as their streaming service of choice. When asked what kept them coming back to each site, people who chose Spotify said it was the ease of which they could create personalized playlists, the low price of the premium version and how it doesn’t take up ICloud storage. While the Musi user stated “it doesn’t interrupt me with ads and I can skip whatever song I want unlike Spotify and I don’t have to pay for it.”.
When conducting my research I’ve seen that people can consume either all day to only an hour of music during the morning. An Apple user stated that he only listens to music when commuting to work or at the gym. Opposed to Spotify one streamer who reportedly consumes music “16–20 hours a day” due to long working hours. Additionally when asked how exactly they consume music, 80% said they curate their own personal playlists to jam out to because “every song in my playlist brings back a certain memory or feeling” as one user stated.
At the end of my research I wasn’t surprised to find that Spotify was the most used out of all the other platforms. What was surprising was the other platform being used and slowly gaining some sort of popularity, Musi. I feel if Spotify lessened its ad experience more people would happily convert to it’s platform. Of course this research was conducted under a limited number of participants but the facts still coincide with Spotify’s success.
After every article and all of my own personal research, I’ve found that Spotify has and will always be at the forefront of streaming. Just as I stated in the introduction, the world is forever evolving and the music industry needs a platform it can rely on to keep up with the changes and trends. Spotify can carry that weight and bring the industry to where it needs to be. Even with its competitors it continues to thrive and grow, all Spotify has to do is pay their artists more because we all know they can afford it.