Examining the development of music streaming
Until the invention of audio recording devices, the music industry as it was involved live performance and the selling of sheet music for people to play their favorite pieces at home. The invention of recording and playback devices led to a shift to a more one-sided approach to the sharing and appreciation of music where listeners became more passive. The "record industry" would go on to sell millions and millions of units to music fans throughout the twentieth century, regurgitating old material as new technology, such as the compact disc (CD) player, emerged.
The industry saw an abrupt change in the early 21st century as the personal computer and personal audio devices became ubiquitous, access to the internet more widespread and with the invention of software that could extract sound files from CDs, compress them, and then allow users to share those files without limitations. The age of file-sharing had arrived. For many years, the record industry floundered, attempting in vain to block access to the sites and software that allowed millions of music fans to share recorded music with millions of others with impunity and without hindrance regardless of copyright laws.
However, the technology companies recognized that there was likely to be no way of blocking the endless peer-to-peer networks that allowed file sharing and they began, in earnest, to develop novel approaches to music dissemination that might engage the many millions of music fans that had turned away from CDs and were listening to downloads—streaming. Music streaming would become an advertising-led, subscription (freemium or premium) model that would give fans instantaneous access to almost any piece of recorded music that cared to access, on-demand.
There are many music fans who continue to listen to their CDs and there are many that persist with the copyright-busting P2P networks, torrents, and other file-sharing systems. There are even fans who favor the analog world of vinyl. However, the market for music streaming has grown steadily and access to high-speed internet on mobile phones and other portable devices has led to a shift towards those services. Research in the International Journal of Electronic Business considers the continuous usage intention of subscribers to the music streaming services, such as Apple Music, Spotify, JOOX, and Google Play Music, in a developing nation.
The developing world obviously represents a vast and growing market for these and countless other music streaming services. Shih Yee Yeoh, Xavier J.P. Yuntavid, and Phaik Nie Chin of the Graduate School of Business, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia, have surveyed users and discovered that, perhaps not surprisingly, ease of use and cost are the two main factors that influence user choice. The team points out that their findings suggest that app designers and service providers should focus on multifunctionality and the social aspects of their services to encourage existing users to engage more with the service, participate in the associated community, which will as a consequence boost the word-of-mouth spread of the service to new users.
More information: Shih Yee Yeoh et al, Examining the continuous usage intention and behaviours of music streaming subscribers, International Journal of Electronic Business (2022). DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2022.121992