The Peacock Press

Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students

IS STREAMING MUSIC PUTTING AN END TO PHYSICAL MUSIC SALES?

A huge change in the music industry is already on it’s way

By Isaiah Olivieri • May 21, 2016

The competition between streaming services intensified with the emergence of Tidal, a company led by Jay-Z and other big names in the industry.

 

Since Tidal’s release, more and more artists are fighting for rights and creative control of their music. Because of the Internet, it is become easier for artists to demand more from their distributors and record labels.

 

In 2015, the total number of streams from streaming services doubled to 317 billion from 2014, according to the Nielson year-end music reports.

 

This year, Kanye West and Beyonce released albums exclusively on Tidal. Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo went platinum and was streamed over 250 million times in its first week without a single physical copy sold. Beyonce’s album Lemonade saw 115 million and has since sold over 1 million in pure album sales across all of the platforms.

 

But even with streaming services headed in a positive direction, there has also been a slight surge in vinyl sales around the country. The Nielson Music Report shows that vinyl sales were at a 10-year high, seeing an increase in sales every year.

 

Tyler, a sales associate at Urban Outfitters in New York City, acknowledges the surge in vinyl sales. He asked that we not reveal his last name.

 

“There are definitely a lot more people buying [vinyls],” he says. “We don’t really get a lot teenagers. They’re mostly in their mid-20s or older, like in their 40s.”

 

Unfortunately, despite the increase in sales, vinyl sales still only account for about nine percent of total album sales. Urban Outfitters sells their records at an average of around $20-30. Some can even be sold for more, according to Tyler.

 

Brian Chapelieri, a student and avid music listener, prefers to use Apple Music rather than physical copies of music because the service offers a wider range of music.

 

He also believes that streaming services will completely take over the music industry and put physical music albums out of business, in the same fashion that forced Blockbuster to go out of business.

 

Despite the tight competition for listeners, Spotify continues to lead the industry with over 30 million views, according to a Tweet by the Spotify’s CEO in March 2016, and he’s right.

 

As of February 2016, Spotify leads its competitors with 30 million subscribers. Apple Music has reported over 12 million subscribers, while Tidal is behind the competition with 3 million followers.

 

With the one-year success of Tidal, it is possible that the industry can see a huge shift in sales, as Brian believes.

 

Streaming music allows listeners to discover music more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Apps like Shazam allow you to find out the name of a song and links you to the song on a steaming service.

 

Recent efforts to draw a larger audience involve Apple Music and Spotify competing for exclusive video content.

 

Apple is doing business with Vice to create The Score, an exclusive video series that shows the local music scene in different countries. Spotify is now offering 12 new video series’ about mostly the same thing. Tidal has been ahead of the game since its release by using music AND video exclusivity as its main selling point.

 

What are your opinions on this phenomenon? Will streaming music services put physical CD’s out of business? Let’s talk about this on Twitter using the hashtag #APPLEvsTIDALvsSPOTIFY

 

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About iolivieri

I would like to think that Young Metro trusts me.

One comment on “IS STREAMING MUSIC PUTTING AN END TO PHYSICAL MUSIC SALES?

  1. Robert Thompson
    June 14, 2016

    For me personally I have always bought physical copies of music. I have bought cassettes,vinyl,and now compact disc. Purchasing music on the internet by downloads and streaming is of no interest to me. Putting a compact disc into my compact disc player is far more enjoyable than downloading music or streaming it. Plus I love to read the album liner notes. I love to physically see and touch my music copies.

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