The Future of Music

Jessica Wilder, Copy Editor

The technological rage is still at high speed with no thoughts of slowing down and the music industry has gladly taken up a spot on the bandwagon. We can all remember that listening to the Spice Girls, Jesse McCartney, the Disney Channel hits, various boy bands, and Disney movie soundtracks simply made our childhood worthwhile on long car rides or spending time at home. Now, even CDs in our generation seem to be fading from our attention as the age of technology is beginning to consume our classic ideas of music. The music industry knows now where we are headed and hard copies seem to be a thing of the past, another type of vinyl. They have launched products such as iTunes, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio to keep up with the blossoming age.

In a way, music taste was kept more private than today. Fans would wears wristbands, poster their rooms, display concert shirts, and would enjoy their bliss in the comfort of their bedroom, never to be advertised to the entire world what it was they liked unless if you asked or it was brought up in normal conversation. It was almost as if you would buy the CD and never really speak of it again. Now, however, with these new apps and installations, people seem to become more and more open and public with their tastes whether it is Justin Bieber and Beyoncé or Black Veil Brides and Mayday Parade. Notifications on our smart phones pop up with Spotify alerting you that a friend has listened to this, has recommended this band, and even gotten so advanced that the app itself will suggest new artists for you to try based on what you have been listening to recently.

Most would think that due to the popularity of iTunes, sales would be through the roof and the company would have no problem making a profit. Well, unfortunately, that is not the case. With Spotify and Pandora, they offer customers a chance to stream whatever music they wish for free or for ten dollars a month to be ad free. These features attract customers like moths to flame, as more and more people are becoming aware of free streaming as opposed to downloading the actual content. In fact, downloading sales have gone down drastically this past year with iTunes losing about forty percent of their annual sales and profit. In fact, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, by next year 170 million people will be listening to these streaming sites on a regular basis. That will be a predicted growth of about ten million listeners from this year.

Not only is iTunes suffering, but streaming is also swallowing up radio broadcasting. Spotify and Pandora have taken away about $432 million away from the broadcast side of radio, causing many companies to convert to stream radio to try to get that money back and keep fueling this new change. According to Triton Digital, Pandora has more than three times the audience of iHeart, CBS, and many other broadcast companies at any given moment. Triton predicts that the “time spent listening” to streaming devices will actually increase by thirty-eight minutes over the next four years, while broadcast will decrease by about forty minutes.

So where does this leave the future of our music industry? Predictions seem to add up to equal that streaming is not going to go away anytime soon, as this is what consumers want and crave as something different from downloading. In the near future, could we expect iTunes to begin a streaming program? They have released the iTunes Radio, which is similar to Pandora, but is not doing as well. Other companies could compete with Spotify and Pandora by coming up with a similar program with newer features to attract more customers. Our world is moving at a fast pace and the music industry is following right along with it. Streaming is taking over, so keep on creating those playlists.