The streaming debate continues to run and run in many parts of the music world, fueled by artists’ complaints, new competitors (hello there, Beats Music), and a sense that the sector isn’t yet settled. This is particularly the case for art music, where CDs still rule the roost.
However, from a technological perspective, there can be no doubt that streaming is the future, nevermind most of the present. One point that has been noted in amongst Apple’s recently releasedd earnings is the continuing decline of the iPod range, which has been overtaken – cannibalised – by the iPhone range, the main driver of Apple’s profits for the last few years.
Why does this matter in relation to streaming? The vast majority of iPhones (and many other smartphones) sold have 16 to 32 gigabytes of storage, which is not very much music for a device you take everywhere. What they do have, along with tablets, is connectivity, and fast connectivity at that with the rise of 4G. Many people are asking why, if they’re already shelling out hundreds of pounds for a device that can stream a vast music library (nearly) wherever they are, should they pay extra for a dedicated music device that only has limited storage itself?
Streaming makes sense for the consumer in many ways, and there’s no putting the cat back in the bag now. The way music is consumed will continue to change and the music industry, particularly art music, needs solutions that work better for it, as well as the consumer.