Streaming music services have changed the way we listen to music and the music industry as a whole. It’s made music more available, more social, less expensive, and now, more mobile.
The first Internet radio station in the U.S., Sonicwave.com, launched in 1996. After its success, larger media companies began to see the potential in similar platforms, with AOL and Yahoo! launching their own Internet radio stations in 1999. However, a new wave of Internet radio focusing on customization soon became the go-to spot for online music.
Pandora launched in 2005 with a brand new concept, allowing music lovers to tailor their listening experiences. As a result of its Music Genome Project, a comprehensive music analysis database, users create “stations” based on music they already love. Today, Pandora has 67.7 million active listeners, and it continues to grow. Offerings like Spotify encourage users to create and share playlists and listen to music collections from friends or celebrities.
After their success on the Web, Pandora, Spotify and similar platforms like Slacker and iHeartRadio launched mobile apps that gave listeners to ability take millions of songs with them on their smartphones. This option has made streaming music more popular than ever, with streaming services accounting for an estimated 10 percent of all digital music revenue last year. This summer, YouTube will launch a streaming music experience for computers and mobile devices. YouTube is already one of the most popular sources of music, especially when trying to access a song quickly, so its entrance into streaming music could change the industry.
These streaming services have transformed how the world listens to music – shifting the focus from owning to accessing and discovering the latest music.