Streaming Music Services Try to Appeal to Artistson September 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm
The rapid onset of streaming music services has prompted a diverse debate around how much value such sites provide for artists. The sector is still finding its feet, and there remains a lot it must do to convince the broad spectrum of musicians that streaming music platforms have their best interests at heart. Spotify and Pandora have been the target of frequent complaints by musicians.
One area in which these streaming music services are making strides is linking streams of the music to more established sources of artist revenue, like the purchase of digital downloads or concert tickets. Some platforms are already exploring these connections:
Spotify and Songkick
Spotify’s ‘Discover’ section was launched earlier this year to serve up song recommendations for its less decisive listeners. Also included are local concert recommendations, provided by partner app Songkick. After clicking through to learn more about the show, users are given the option to buy tickets.
This may seem like an obvious extension but the importance of bringing the show alongside the song should not be dismissed. The new section is likely to be a high traffic route to new music and the opportunity to capitalize on that initial surge of interest is a valuable one. Add to this the fact that the recommendation algorithm appears to be significantly improved and we can see the potential for some serious interest in these listings.
Combining online listening history with a service that announces interesting live events makes both services more useful. In turn, this raises the likelihood that the listener will be persuaded into a ticket purchase, bridging the gap between streaming music and physical music experience.
iTunes and its Radio
Launching this month is Apple’s entry into the streaming music market. Building naturally upon the wildly popular iTunes framework and store, Apple has been emphasizing the discovery and purchase element of its new service.
With the “Music to your ears, then to your collection” selling point, the company is banking on listeners to bolster legal purchases as they find new songs to add to their libraries. That the service comes ad-free with iTunes Match and synchronizes a listener’s collection across all devices will increase the incentive to use it on a regular basis. With so many users already in the habit of paying for music within the iTunes ecosystem, it isn’t a huge leap to expect a boost to digital sales after the service is introduced
Google Play and All Access Music
Technically separate products but effectively all living underneath the Play umbrella, Google links up the streaming element of its All Access service to digital downloads from the Play store. Similar way to Apple’s new offering, the appeal lies in access across all devices and the opportunity to add to one’s collection when a song or album moves from “might like” to “must have” status.
With industry leader Spotify lacking this purchase option, Google and Apple can both lay claim to offering listeners a wider range of ways to consume – and pay for – the music they enjoy. This should catalyze competition between the major services, hopefully prompting further creativity in how they cater to fans seeking more from their favorite artists.
Future Creativity and Collaboration
From integrating social network data to recommending shows based on the upcoming events, to converting fan follows and likes into information that artists can use to better target their marketing, the potential for creative use of data to augment streaming services for the benefit of artists is clear. Targeted marketing in particular is a relatively untapped area, where sales of both concert tickets and physical merchandise could be boosted by displaying them to a captive audience.
At a time when these platforms are regularly under fire for simply making money off the backs of creators content that fuels their business model, it is heartening to see moves being made to increase sales and use the vast data sets they collect to pull fans further into the music.