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PIAS chart

via: Pias.com blog

Today’s streaming music stats as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The question many are asking is, will the upcoming Apple streaming service affect the streaming eco-system significantly?

Spotify accounts for 86% of the on-demand music-streaming market according to data shared with music publishers.

Meanwhile, Apple has about 85% of the download market. But downloading is in decline.

At the very least, Apple may bring significant attention to the idea of streaming music as most people still don’t know about it. But will their product be innovative, a differentiator that will gain market share from Spotify?

“Beats Music has around 303,000 paying subscribers as of December 2014, all of them in the U.S., according to data provided to music publishers.” Since it appears Beats Music has stopped innovating, it is unlikely subscribers have increased significantly.

“Spotify reported more than $1 billion in revenue last year and said it ended the year with 15 million paying subscribers, plus around 45 million free users.”

On the streaming radio side, Pandora said it had more than 79 million active users in March; it posted a loss of $30 million on about $921 million in revenue last year.

The WSJ goes on to note that “the new Apple radio push is aimed mainly at users outside the U.S., who don’t have access to Pandora and could eventually be converted to paying subscribers.”

The last word needs to go to Steve Albini – musician, record producer and outspoken critic of the music industry. Spotify was founded on the notion that if music consumers have a reasonable alternative to piracy, they will use it. Albini lays out his belief that copyright and piracy have played themselves out. Albini thinks:

that the idea of intellectual property will naturally have to be modified to accommodate the way that people naturally exchange ideas and music and information. That old copyright model of the person who wrote something down owns it and anyone else who wants to use it or see it has to pay him, I think that model has expired. And people who are trying to defend that model are like people on horseback trying to fight against the automobile…I think the term piracy is absurd. Actually, piracy is people boarding a ship with violence and killing people and physically stealing material goods that are then no longer available to people who used to own them. I think equating somebody downloading something on his iPhone with that is preposterous.

Apple, Feeling Heat From Spotify, to Offer Streaming Music Service
Apple vs. Spotify: What to expect from Apple’s music streaming service
Steve Albini: Copyright Has Expired