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Digital music streaming grows 24% as Apple preps launch of iTunes Radio

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
As Apple prepares to launch iTunes Radio alongside iOS 7, new figures from Nielsen indicate that the music streaming industry has taken off, with more than 50 billion songs streamed in the first half of this year.



Friday saw the release of Nielsen SoundScan's newest figures, which show a growing interest among consumers in streaming services like Spotify and Apple's forthcoming iTunes Radio. For the first half of 2013, stream volume was up 24 percent over the same period last year.

"Streaming continues to be a tremendous growth story," said Nielsen's David Bakula. "with over 50 billion audio and video streams in the first six months of 2013."

This considerable growth in streaming service use comes even before Apple has properly stepped into the fray with its recently announced iTunes Radio service. That service ? accessible by Mac, PC, Apple TV, and iOS devices ? will see Apple offering personalized radio stations built off of users' listening habits. It will come in both ad-supported and ad-free models.

A presence in the growing music streaming industry could give Apple even more sway in the music industry. By some estimates, iTunes accounts for 63 percent of all digital music sales, while other estimates put that figure as high as 75 percent.

iTunes Radio will join a crowded field, though it will have some advantages due to it being preinstalled on every device running iOS 7. Aside from Apple's offering, music consumers can also stream from Pandora, Spotify, another streaming option from Google Music, Microsoft's Xbox Music service, and many other options.

Apple's entry into the Internet radio business was almost held up by resistance from assorted music industry players. Those players ? wary of giving Apple more power, and also eying the company's considerable cash holdings ? wanted sizable concessions from Apple with regard to licensing fees and royalties on their content. Apple eventually yielded on some issues and closed deals with the major players ahead of the service's announcement at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference.

Beyond the implications for the streaming segment, Nielsen's report showed that music sales were slightly down year-over-year. Overall, album and track equivalent sales were down 4.6 versus the same period in 2012. That was due in part to a continuing decline in the largest physical media segment, the compact disc, which was down 14.2 percent year-over-year.

Digital track sales were down 2.3 percent, but digital album sales were actually up 6.3 percent. Nielsen found that digital albums now make up 43 percent of all album sales, up from 38 percent last year.

Vinyl LP sales were also up considerably over last year, with Nielsen measuring them at 33.5 percent higher than in 2012.
post #2 of 17
Vinyl LP sales up 33.5 percent over last year - yeah baby, being an audiophile I'm glad to read that. Nothing quite like a well recorded and manufactured LP on a high quality system for sound nirvana, despite the occasional crackle and pop! The brain just likes analogue better.
post #3 of 17
I havent purchased a single track since I started using Spotify. Streaming is quickly becoming the new norm.
post #4 of 17
Free streaming vs buying. Not too hard to see that free will win

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post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Free streaming vs buying. Not too hard to see that free will win

Not really. Most people like me prefer ownership of the music. That will never change. 

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac-Daddy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Free streaming vs buying. Not too hard to see that free will win
Not really. Most people like me prefer ownership of the music. That will never change. 

It will change. The people that like owning their music will die and the new people will not have any hang ups about not owning the music. It has started already with the early adopters. Others will switch before they die. Some will just have to die. 1wink.gif
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac-Daddy View Post

Not really. Most people like me prefer ownership of the music. That will never change. 


Some people will always prefer owning music but I think that will be a small percentage over time.

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post #8 of 17

I wonder how long Spotify will last at it's current price point. I think the labels are just keeping it around to prevent Apple from dominating everything.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

Vinyl LP sales up 33.5 percent over last year - yeah baby, being an audiophile I'm glad to read that. Nothing quite like a well recorded and manufactured LP on a high quality system for sound nirvana, despite the occasional crackle and pop! The brain just likes analogue better.

 

Oh, you're one of those...

 

Next you'll tell me red M&Ms taste different than blue ones.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin Jioras View Post

I havent purchased a single track since I started using Spotify. Streaming is quickly becoming the new norm.

Now the real question.   How much do you pay for the service?

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


It will change. The people that like owning their music will die and the new people will not have any hang ups about not owning the music. It has started already with the early adopters. Others will switch before they die. Some will just have to die. 1wink.gif

So, how much are you paying for the service to not own your music?  Is that free as well?  If so, that too will not last.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

 

Oh, you're one of those...

 

Next you'll tell me red M&Ms taste different than blue ones.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

Vinyl LP sales up 33.5 percent over last year - yeah baby, being an audiophile I'm glad to read that. Nothing quite like a well recorded and manufactured LP on a high quality system for sound nirvana, despite the occasional crackle and pop! The brain just likes analogue better.

 

Vinyl DOES sound better than digital (in most cases). Read up on it to learn why. The conditions have to be right but there is a noticeable difference (unless your your blew your hearing out at too many concerts LOL).

 

It makes me sad to think that I sold all my half-speed masters 15 years ago (along with my turntable) cause I was in need of the cash. 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambira View Post

So, how much are you paying for the service to not own your music?  Is that free as well?  If so, that too will not last.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sambira View Post

Now the real question.   How much do you pay for the service?

+1

I'm sure not getting paid will do a lot for the quality of the music we will listen too. As much as I enjoy playing my guitar as a hobby I wouldn't do it for a living if all I was gonna get was a pass of the hat at the end of the nite (with the way I play they may be some wanting to take money out LOL). You really think the big bands from the 60's thru the 80's that sweated out in beer joints for free beer or a $200 a nite would have stuck with it all the years they did to finally be able to get a record deal or play stadiums? I seriously doubt it.

post #14 of 17
One of the things I've loved about Pandora is that it makes its selections based on the fundamental elements (the "genome") of the very songs themselves - not on user listening preferences. As a result a get stations that give me music that *feels* the same. I really like that. It doesn't sound like iRadio will work that way, but will instead suggest songs based on what other people who listen to that song seem to also like. My fear is that the music I get in my "station" will be a bit more random and less congruent with the feel of the original "seed" song/songs. Of course, we'll just have to wait and see. But right now I LOVE the way Pandora selects music. The music genome project is genius, and not the kind of Genius that Apple employs.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


Vinyl DOES sound better than digital (in most cases). Read up on it to learn why. The conditions have to be right but there is a noticeable difference (unless your your blew your hearing out at too many concerts LOL).

It makes me sad to think that I sold all my half-speed masters 15 years ago (along with my turntable) cause I was in need of the cash. 

'Better' is a subjective term when talking about the way something sounds. Technically speaking, a digital master is the 'best' as it is a one-for-one copy of the original recording.

Transferring any modern recording to vinyl will drop the quality, as it is no longer an exact replica of the original recording, which exists as 0s and 1s on a hard disk.

Vinyl usually has that 'nice' sound quality because of the analogue distortion introduced during playback (similar to digital clipping, but the distortion of analogue has a warmer tone), which a lot of people like because it recreates the warm tape-saturated sound of 15 years ago when everything was recorded to high quality tape.

Once again, vinyl is a technically inferior medium for sound reproduction, but it can SOUND nicer than digital, because of the inherent flaws it has. The latter point is subjective, the former is not.
post #16 of 17
This doesn't surprise me, I stream music all the time. I use Torch Music, I listen to my playlists at work all the time and it's synced with my phone so I can listen to it while I'm driving and working out - I'm totally addicted!
post #17 of 17

I'll still use Pandora.

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