The market for recorded music has undergone at least three major reinventions since the dawn of the Internet. At the turn of the century illegal downloading ate away at the music industry’s bottom line. Then the iTunes music store made it easy to buy music again, albeit disaggregated from its album form.
Then along came streaming. The combination of ubiquitous Internet connectivity and bottomless consumer appetite for music has led to the success of applications like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio which allow users to access entire music catalogs from virtually anywhere for next to nothing.
Streaming has worked. In 2014 alone, at least 164 billion tracks were played across all streaming services according to Nielsen. And these streaming companies are raking in incredible amounts of cash from advertising and user subscription fees.
Where does the money go? A recent study from Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship showed that 20 to 50 percent of music revenues