The way we consume music has been consistently evolving since popular music began hitting mainstream culture in the 1930s. The evolution from radio to A-tracks, record players and cassettes has paved the way for technology to find its place in music and the way we listen to our favorite artists.
Streaming services have changed the way music is consumed and the way in which the industry operates. While some of the inner workings are not privy to the general public, there are trends that we can see. In 2023, there are three key trends that we’re seeing make an impact in the industry.
The music industry, when we talk about streaming, is primarily dominated by two entities — Apple Music and Spotify. These platforms are the largest distributors of music and are accessible on all smart devices, from tablets and phones to TVs and even watches.
While both platforms occupy the majority of listeners and revenue, we’re seeing a slow progression and democratization in the streaming game. Audio and video platforms are giving listeners more diverse content and new ways to consume content — a prime example is Broad stream’s Britton & The Sting series, which promotes intimate concert experiences from NYC recording studios. These new platforms give listeners and viewers a chance to share their time and money and give more content creators a chance to expand their audience reach.
Rise of Paid Subscriptions
In the early days of streaming, everything was offered without cost. These platforms delivered free music without any sort of paid platform. That quickly changed with the addition of the subscription model. Music streaming platforms realized they could monetize their services further by offering benefits and amenities to subscribers — primarily offering things like ad-free listening as a way to entice listeners.
At the end of 2021, Spotify announced they had earned over 180 million paid subscribers, so it’s safe to say this trend is here to stay.
The Decline of Radio
In decades past, and even in the last few years, radio was considered the dominant way to consume music. While radio has by no means fallen completely by the wayside, we can’t ignore the shift in listenership. These days, music streaming platforms offer listeners a more diverse catalogue and convenient ways to consume their music — listeners can now connect Apple Music or Spotify to their cars if they have touch screen navigation and Bluetooth capabilities.
While radio is still widely available, the noticeable rotation of the same handful of songs isn’t as appealing as it once was. Listeners want their custom playlists and their favorite up-and-coming artists to keep them company on their drives.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt that music streaming platforms are the future, but the question still becomes how will they continue to evolve? These trends discussed are just a glimpse into the current landscape and what listeners and consumers can expect in the coming years. Only time will tell what trends we see next.