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Apr 2014 25

The real digital music revolution hasn’t been iTunes but Spotify. The Apple Music service merely introduced a highly efficient digital platform for music but essentially it’s still a glitzed up online retailer.

Spotify, on the other hand, has changed the way we discover new artists by allowing people to NOT initially buy the tracks but to listen as a streaming subscription service trawling through their extensive catalogue.

I am sure that anyone over 35 will understand this: I spent years just building up my large-ish record collection playing in constant rotation but limited to just those records as budget allows, so when I first registered with the streaming site my eyes were truly opened to millions of tracks and I discovered so many hidden gems that would otherwise be closed off to me. We can actually share playlists and I can still discover so much more. To anyone who readily accepts this lifestyle you truly don’t understand things like audio cassettes!

Admittedly the artists should get more revenue sharing but as they benefit from greater publicity via discovery it’s a step in the right direction and allows people to share in a fan-like way.

We are now seeing Spotify used as a bundled service for the likes of The Times and Virgin Media as a catalyst to sign up so we know it’s a useful tool for these companies to jump on as leverage and again this is down to the USP.

Another reason for this model’s success is that other players, notably the Beats empire are muscling in with a slightly different approach to entice customers away and when the artists can get better deals then we are truly at a point of revolution where everybody wins. It doesn’t end with music as we can clearly see from Netflix, which offers the filmic equivalent to great success. DVDs are dead so what’s their next step? Streaming!

Let’s face it; people want to choose from a vast library, as taste is fickle and people are now used to wider choice on the subscription model. The smaller artists can now be on par with the bigger ones and add to the musical renaissance.

Also it’s worth noting that iTunes sales have gone down for the first time this year so we will see what route Apple will take to keep the stranglehold they have become accustomed to.

Innovation has only just started

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