How Music Streaming Has Changed The Music Industry

The music industry is changing with the introduction of popular music streaming services such as Spotify & Apple Music. But is it changing for the better?

Music streaming gives our constantly changing society opportunities to listen to music where and when they want, in an extremely portable fashion. The change comes from music supporters switching from purchasing a CD, which is quickly becoming a novelty item.

Risks & Challenges  

The digitalization of music has influenced new and unheard of challenges, such as revenue loss to the music industry due to piracy. However, it’s also introduced new and exciting opportunities to a larger number of artists. By reducing costs such as searching, the streaming service makes it a lot easier to discover new artists.

With the digital age comes the risk of music piracy. Since the introduction of streaming services, piracy concepts are increasing, such as multiple YouTube to .MP3 sites becoming accessible to the public.


The quantity of music that artists are sharing with their audience has changed with the digital streaming age. The average album length has changed drastically over the last decade. From cassette tapes to digital EP’s, the track listing has increased by 11 to 16 in just 10 years. With that being said, ‘visual experience’ EP’s and albums are also becoming a popular substitute to the original albums. These include an original list track with the addition of music videos or a short film that links directly to the artist(s).


In the United States alone, there are 30 million people subscribing to music streaming sites. Whether that be Spotify or Apple Music, those who pay for their music streaming are not burdened by advertisement being implemented into their music playlists. Whether or not you’re paying a subscription fee or not, the streaming site is making money – and so are the artist(s). Therefore, the more subscribers there are, the more money the whole music industry will earn.


Vinyl EP’s are one of the highest quality forms of music distribution, so when artists compress their content into a small .mp3 file, are we losing our listening experience? Listeners who understand this issue can remedy their experience by researching the different qualities of music that streaming sites offer. However, this can come at an extra cost, both cellular data and subscription wise. Fortunately, multiple music development companies have recognized this issue and are working to bring back the purity and thrill to listeners.


When music streaming wasn’t as popular, an artist would release a new tune and it would automatically climb the charts and stay there for a decent amount of time. With music streaming, the artist could expect to stay on that chart for a matter of days. This is brining battles for artists wanting to reach number one. Because there are so many new artists making their debut on streaming services, the original artists with their latest hits aren’t receiving the recognition they deserve.

Could Streaming Save The Music Industry?

Music streaming is growing by about 1 million new users every month, which is resulting in a very large sum of money flowing into the music industry. Artists, such as Drake, have contributed to help music agencies achieve profitability, essentially offsetting the fall in sales of digital downloads. Spotify recently had 60 million paid subscribers, double that of Apple Music. Nearly 80% of the music industry revenue comes from digital distribution with advertising & subscription fees. Essentially, music streaming is taking over digital sales.

What’s Next?

We live in an impatient world full of demand. This begs the question of why we would buy a CD when we could stream the album from the comfort of our mobile devices, which we are never caught without. If the music industry is the future of how artists share their content, then it’s crucial that not only the artists understand how to take full advantage of this change, but the users too. Music streaming is bound to keep influencing changes in the music industry as we advance in the digital age.



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