Back in the day, it was cool to download music illegally via Napster, Xolox, Kazaa, and Limewire. As a result, 95% of the music downloaded on the internet is illegal (daily infographic). However only 10% of those downloads are actually hurting the music industry. Nevertheless, digitally formatted music is the primary way in which people obtain and listen to their favorite songs.
In recent years, an upsurge in the popularity of music streaming occurred. Somewhere along the line, paying for mp3′s did not seem to be enough. Why pay ten dollars a month for a single new album when you can pay ten dollars a month for access to millions of songs? This realization sparked a revolution of internet music providers. Today, music streaming saturates the music industry. Many companies such as Grooveshark, Spotify, MOG, Pandora, Rdio, and Google Music Beta offer various music streaming services that present users with over fifteen million song choices. And while some of these websites limit music streaming to internet applications, many offer streaming capabilities to user desktops and mobile devices.
It is evident that music streaming continues to gain momentum because billboard.com, the primary provider of music chart rankings, now factors online music streaming into the top hit charts. So while many artists such as Skrillex are not popular on the radio, they are some of the most popular artists in the world due to music streaming and other web-based music sources (USA Today). Therefore, we must keep a close eye on the music streaming industry because it may become the predominant source of music and eventually even put mp3s to rest.
In the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at various music streaming services in order to better understand how the music industry is developing.
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