Who Will the Survive the Streaming Music Battle?

by Rachel Baker on July 24, 2014

Here is a really good look at the players in the streaming music industry and how likely they are to stay relevant.

“One thing is for sure,” declared an influential American critic and record industry analyst, Bob Lefsetz, in a recent post on the topic of streaming music. “One service will dominate, it’s where we’ll all go, because we want to share, we don’t want to be left out.”

Music is now undeniably an internet industry—more than 70% of the music consumed in the first six months of the year in the US was either downloaded or streamed, according to Nielsen SoundScan’s latest numbers. And internet industries tend to be winner-takes-all markets. Think Google in search, YouTube in online video, or Facebook in social media.

But that kind of dominance takes time to emerge, and streaming music has yet to reach that point. Many players compete for ears (and wallets): from the original, pure-play internet music services like Pandora and Spotify, to offshoots of radio, like Clear Channel’s iHeart Radio, to new services from the biggest companies in tech—Apple, Google and Amazon.

So will one service eventually dominate streaming music as Lefsetz expects? Or will it remain fragmented? If there is going to be a winner, who will it be, and what will decide the race?

An epic battle in streaming music is about to begin, and only a few will survive

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