Although the birth of iTunes provided a temporary solution to illegal music downloads, piracy continued to exist as many did not want to pay for music. Nonetheless, technology continued to aid in the idea of making music accessible and affordable. The late 2000s proved to be the decade when successful streaming services such as Spotify and Beats/Apple Music emerged. These streaming services not only gave artists more control over the distribution of their music, but also gave consumers the opportunity to stream their music inexpensively without having to download and overall provided a better listening experience.
On October 2008, Spotify was founded in Sweden in effort to solve the issues of piracy and revolutionized the way we listen to music in the process. On February 10, 2009, they started offering free accounts to the public and opened registration in the UK. Spotify offers a large catalog of music that the audiences could listen. Rather than using the pay to download standard, they decided that the artists would receive part of a royalty payment every time their song was streamed. Spotify’s revenue relies on advertisements and optional subscription fees that gave access to its ad-free Premium service. Spotify’s business model turned out to be a huge success and estimated more than 65 million Spotify users including paying subscribers. and on June 17, 2011, new funding saw its value rise close to $1 billion and by July that same year the company used their surplus revenue to launch their streaming service in the US. Spotify helped pave the road for other streaming services to emerge as they became a huge success and changed the way many people listen to music in the process.
On September 2014, Apple decided it was time for them to dive into the music streaming market as well and bought Beats Electronics from Dr. Dre. Beats Music was an already established and popular streaming service that had the support of many popular musicians such as Lady Gaga and Pharrell. Beats Music was a paid streaming service and therefore there was more profit coming in for artists, record labels, and other people involved. However, Beats Music offered a new listening experience through expertly-curated playlist algorithms that gave song and album selections based on the artists and genre that you personally like to listen to me. Instead of just letting the people search for what song they want to listen to, its algorithm already does that for them which made it popular among the users. Apple favored this concept and implemented it into their own streaming service called Apple music. Apple launched their streaming service on June 8, 2015 to compete with Spotify and their streaming sales. The launch of Apple Music signaled Apple following the trend towards music streaming and away from iTunes. Apple Music took the idea of Beats Music and added its own flavor to it by introducing a 24-hour radio station that features high profile hosts and celebrities called Beats 1 and Apple Connect where artists can share their music, videos, photos, and be able to connect with their fans. Users who don’t want to pay can have access to customizable radio stations while played listeners can listen to any song on demand and have custom music playlists made for them based on their preferences. Paid subscribers are also offered exclusive content from world famous artists such as Drake and Taylor Swift. As of now, Apple music has over 100 million users worldwide with close to 50 million of them being paid listeners. At a reasonable price along with exclusive content, Apple Music is among one of the top music streaming services and it is setting a new trend in the way we listen to music.