| 14 Jul 2024
Music streaming services is the most competitive business currently

Artist Aloud associate VP Soumini Sridhara Paul who came on board as a special ‘Guest Editor’ at’s (RnM) office expressed her views on the music streaming services in the country and contributed to the fifth anniversary celebrations.

Have you ever spent a day without music? Just imagine if one day there is no music and the world stops producing it forever. Of course, one would say, you can listen to the music that was released previously. Sure one can do that. But what about the fact that music has a phase, a trend , a style. Can you imagine listening to 60s kind of music in the 21st century? All the songs that have been remixed are a proof that one has to flow with time. 

However, in the last three-four years after digital became a way of life for common man, our method of consuming music has also undergone a change. Now we are not able to listen to music the way we used to, even if we wished to do so. And, therefore, the new wave of streaming services is not really a surprise.

When Napster launched its service of peer to peer sharing of music, it started the trend of free music consumption. Consumers suddenly didn’t worry about not paying for music because to a certain extent they believed that if an internet site is providing this service, it is possibly allowed, notwithstanding the fact that music has never been a preplanned purchase or consumption. It is and always has been mood, recommendation or frequency based. If a song is hammered down your ears through television, radio or any other form of media and you like the song; you then want to own it or hear it right then.

In the good old days people had the patience to go to a record store to fulfill their craving for a song. But today with the mobile and the internet becoming a way of life rather than a choice, people have grown to be more demanding for quick access and quick delivery. What started as an opportunity became a habit and now a necessity and when something becomes a necessity, it creates a business opportunity. 

So when we talk about digital opportunities, one of the most competitive business in the recent times and still on the growth is music streaming service. To name a few of the music streaming services that have been running successfully for a while now, atleast in the consumer’s mind are – Grooveshark, Raaga, Pandora, Rhapsody, Gaana and the most recently launched and hugely successful, Spotify. So what is it that each of these services offer that make them so successful? Well there are a lot of reasons but the most common one among all are – large amount of content to search through at a global level, ease of access, large bandwidth for consumer experience and more importantly, its free.

Personally, I am a huge fan of Spotify. Since I managed to get access to the service through Steve Savoca (Entertainment Head) from Spotify when I went to the Music Matters in Singapore earlier this year, I am hooked on to it. I am a listener who needs to be presented with music rather than being expected to find it myself. Spotify seems to recognize that. And what is most cocky yet very rightly placed is the confidence with which Spotify has built its service. It assumes that you will be hooked on and so it initializes itself as you are on your system. Before you are ready to start your work, it gets you ready to start listening to music.

My biggest question to all streaming services, however, is how much profit are you making? If the user is not paying and they are mostly dependent on advertising, with the kind of license fees some of the majors charge to allow the services to run their content, are the services going to last? The consumer has got hooked onto it and if one shuts down, they will move to the next but one thing which is sure that music streaming is here to stay. How sticky one can make one’s service is a sheer trial and error exercise which is the only sure formula.

The future is here and music too. Now it’s only meant to see who is making how much revenue out of it and how much is the artist getting back. If every business person in this service is keeping the artist in mind, he is indirectly keeping his own business in mind because with the artist not gaining something out of it, he is not going to continue to make music.

I always believe, if you plan to be in the music industry, do your bit to pave the way forward for the next generation. And I think streaming services has in its own way managed to do that both for the consumer and hopefully for the artist.