The Music Streaming Wars

It is officially the age of technology, where at three years old your toddler probably knows how to work a smart phone, and everything is being streamed. Movies can be streamed online and people are turning down premium cable plans, opting to pay for steaming TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. One of the biggest streaming industries is music, and services such as Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify are paying artists big bucks to exclusively stream their content. Not only that, but now number of streams is being counted towards album sales for music artists.

Apple Music is a subscription-based streaming service; customers get three months to try out the service, then after the free trial period it is $9.99 (4.99 if you’re a college student). Instead of paying for individual records from the iTunes store you can get all your music for a monthly charge, and seeing as most artists put their music on iTunes, this is a really good deal. Apple Music also offers a radio station and offline streaming for when you don’t have internet connection. Apple Music now has 30 million subscribers, which is significantly higher than Tidal, which was late to the game, and recorded having three million paying subscribers, and Spotify, who has 40 million paying subscribers.  Though there are many pros for the customers of Apple Music, the artists sometimes are short-handed. Artists get paid from Apple Music through their record label – Apple Music pays the label and then the record label pays the artists–and how often the artists are usually paid is based on the contract that the record company has with Apple.

Tidal is one of the lesser spoken of streaming services, and unlike Apple Music, Tidal “is an artist-owned coalition.” The founding Tidal artists are Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire (Win Butler and Regine Chassagne), Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, and Usher.” This means that the artists get paid directly from Tidal, therefore they get the full amount they deserve based on their streaming counts. A con to this service is the expense for the content, like most other streaming services there’s not a unlimited title of content on Tidal, yet for a high quality service plan, the price goes up $20. Even though their content is not unlimited, Tidal has the support of many popular artists, so why are they are not as popular are their counter parts such as Apple Music and Spotify? Well, one reason is the cost, and another is familiarity and access; Spotify has been here for years, shortly followed by Apple Music. iPhones are already programmed with Apple Music in their Music apps, leading to easier access and understanding.

There is still a battle going on in the streaming wars; it was reported, however, that Apple Music was in discussions with Tidal leaders to actually buy Tidal. We shall see what happens, but so far it seems as if Apple is out to win the competition.

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