Every year as we near the year’s end, we look at the technology trends that propel the industry forward. This time, I decided to look specifically at music streaming as the industry, artists, and fans further embrace the shifting culture of how people listen to songs. As the days of owning music — both physical mediums and downloads — fade into the past, the increase in subscriptions to streaming platforms is largely responsible for the phenomenal 18% rise in revenue from recorded music in the US in the first half of 2019. With over one million new subscriptions added per month during this period, there’s no question that streaming music has become the new norm.
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Thanks to the magnificent growth of streaming, the past few years have been a wonderfully prosperous time for the music industry after far too long. At the same time, the monumental rise will soon slow down and level out in mature markets, including the US and the UK. As the new year and new decade approaches, how will record labels and streaming platforms diversify and innovate to discover and develop new business models that enable a continued revenue surge?
Personalization Is Crucial
Today’s music listeners expect highly advanced personalization when using streaming services. And this expectation will definitely grow in the coming period. Platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music are leaders in this space, but we have yet to fully realize the possibilities of personalization in the world of streaming music.
Technology is at the forefront of advancements in personalization. By combining machine learning with human curation, data-driven playlists are capable of getting smarter over time, resulting in fine-tuned personalization at an astonishing level. The potential enhancements to recommendations and social discovery in conjunction with sophisticated algorithms and other technological innovations will be a major focus for streaming platforms and the industry at large in the coming period, thereby creating an increasingly personal and enjoyable user experience.
Artist Promotion Toolkits
Both labels and streaming platforms are increasingly invested in offering broader services to artists. A recent example is UMG releasing an in-house artist analytics app. “Universal Music Artists” is available for all artists on the record label and their managers to provide them with a wealth of invaluable information. Describing the product as the first all-in-one app for artist analytics, users gain access to data from major streaming platforms as well as social media engagement information from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Additionally, the app displays YouTube views and detailed data about top countries, demographics, and more.
Although Spotify was the first major streaming service to provide artists with insights into their listeners, Apple Music and UMG are now both deeply involved in analytics for artists, and I expect to see significant enhancements to such offerings over the next year.
5G For Streaming
One of the hottest topics these days is the oncoming jump in connectivity speed with 5G, which is expected to hit the US in 2020. With the potential to deliver data up to 10 times faster than 4G, the benefits of 5G are certain to impact music streaming.
Earlier this year Amazon unveiled its new Music HD service, bringing lossless audio streams and downloads to fans in the US, UK, Japan and Germany. A move that many believe will eventually make this niche offering mainstream. High-fidelity music streams will be easily consumed with 5G, so I expect to see a major expansion of these offerings once the faster speed is commonplace.
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Furthermore, live streaming of music videos and concert will go to the next level with enhanced 5G speeds and low latency. VR, AR, and hologram shows, such as we’ve seen for Roy Orbison, could reach much wider audiences with 5G while allowing for further innovations in the delivery of data-rich content in the context of live concerts and other high-tech experiences to our personal devices.
By Sergey Bludov
SVP, Media & Entertainment, DataArt
What are your thoughts about music streaming trends for 2020? Please share your opinions in the comments below.