The End of Buying Music?

Presently, the top 40 music chart is based on the top 40 most purchased songs on iTunes each week. This changed from the top 40 most purchased songs in stores a couple of years ago, but nowadays is looking at iTunes purchases still a representative source? I say this because music streaming sites are becoming more popular, such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, so do people still actually need to buy music?

Purchasing songs online killed off purchasing music in stores, due to the ease a song can be bought anywhere with internet and be listened to straight away. Now it appears as if music streaming is the next step, as it can be listened to anywhere without even having to purchase the song. This allows the user to discover new music easier, as instead of just buying songs that they have heard of and like, they can listen to any song without any extra cost. Music streaming services can also create playlists according to the user’s taste, meaning that the user doesn’t even need to look for songs but everything they could like is already laid out in front of them.

There appear to be more advantages with streaming music than buying it, which is probably the reason for its rising popularity. Streaming music can be much cheaper than buying for people who like listening to a lot of music. For example, songs are usually 99p each on iTunes, while on Spotify they can be free to listen to if the user does not mind the occasional advert. Sites like Youtube and Soundcloud are also commonly used for free music streaming. However it could be argued that purchasing music will mean that the song will be available to listen to even without internet. While this is true for Youtube, Soundcloud and the free version of Spotify, music streaming services are now adding offline listening so the music the user saves act as if the user has bought it. Even though this usually comes at a cost, it can still be cheaper than purchasing music for avid music listeners. Spotify Premium and Apple Music both cost £9.99 a month which equates to about £120 a year. £120 on iTunes would get about 120 songs, which is significantly less than the entire library of Spotify or Apple Music.

Music streaming is now creating more competition between rival services and will continue to do more and more so. This is when some music streaming services start offering exclusivity, which is what I think each service will have to do eventually. For example, Tidal offers their users exclusive albums and music videos at a higher quality than a typical MP3 file, however it comes at a cost of £19.99 a month; double that of Spotify and Apple Music.

I think that soon music streaming services could sign up artists to exclusively only release their music on that service. Could this mean that in the future we will have to choose which service to join depending on the artist or genre we like?


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