Music streaming apps take over the industry

By Natalia Bru

Tap, slide, play. A blogger, a music professor and a student all have one thing in common– their constant need for instant music. With today’s music streaming applications, this is possible.

“People can browse their music according to mood or what they’re doing and how it’s available on any type of technology people can listen on the go,” music blogger Isabella Roque said.

Music Apps, such as Spotify, Soundcloud and Tidal, have grown significantly and will continue to grow as technology improves and the need for instant gratification increases. These applications allow users to listen to music on the go, as long as they have a working device with reception or Wi-Fi.

Thomas Tunks, music expert and SMU professor, said that music streaming has made an impact throughout his teaching career.

“I think it’s great. I remember in historical perspective, I used to take vinyl’s to class to show examples,” Tunks said.

Music streaming apps are commonly known for allowing users to listen to music without needing to download or pay for the work. Spotify is known for its ability to stream artists’ music, make playlists and browse public playlists based on one’s mood. Spotify is also one of the most downloaded apps in the music streaming market. Other apps such as SoundCloud, Pandora and Tidal do not have as many options for streaming.

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Courtesy of Facebook

“With Spotify, anyone and everyone can listen. It’s so easy,” Tunks said. “It’s incredibly convenient and effective. Five bucks a month rather than $140 for a textbook? Streaming has revolutionized how I teach.”

Tunks relies heavily on apps like Spotify to teach his class, The Art of Listening, for homework assignments and for demonstrations to show different orchestras’ themes and variations of various pieces.

Like Tunks, music bloggers rely on these streaming applications to showcase their recent playlists and content on their websites. Staywired.org’s founder Isabella Roque explained that music streaming was her way of getting hooked onto an artist before supporting them and maybe seeing them later on in concert.

“With programs like Spotify, it pays artists and it becomes easier for the smaller artists to get exposed without having to go through CD release,” Roque said.

Recently, Jay-Z launched the newest streaming application, Tidal. Tidal was supposed to be a breakthrough streaming service, providing artists with 75 percent of the money generated through the application. Jay-Z had support for the application with huge artists such as Kanye West, Chris Martin from Coldplay, Madonna, and Pharell Williams. When the service was finally up for use on the market, Jay-Z was shocked to see the outcome.

Statistics from Business Insider show that the app was at No. 664 on the charts, in comparison to Spotify’s hot spot at No. 17.

Users biggest problem with Tidal was the price: over $20 a month for a service that has all the basics Spotify had. Spotify has a special student discount that allows users to pay $5 a month for premium quality, commercial free music.

“I don’t like that there’s also not a free option… not everyone is as fortunate as these artists to be able to pay this fee every month. If they’re trying to make a change, it’s not helping,” Roque said.

Even for an average music enthusiast, music streaming is most ideal for those who are always changing their recently played songs. For SMU sophomore music listener Michael Davide, music is something that keeps him focused in between his studies. Davide made the switch over to Spotify Premium last month.

“It’s just so efficient and cheaper. It also makes your library more accessible,” Davide said.

Most music listeners prefer streaming to downloading music, purchasing a vinyl or buying a single from iTunes.

“In order for somebody to become a fan, to like the music, you won’t want to buy the CD… you need to listen by streaming by discovering the artists, fall in love, you listen to all their stuff, and that will incline the listener to buy a CD or go see them in concert,” Roque said. “By the end of the day, you will help them make money through Spotify.”

With all the features these applications have, it leaves many wondering what’s in store for the future of music when it comes to streaming. Tunks believes music streaming will only become better in quality as they improve glitches over time. Blogger Roque thinks streaming will go beyond improvements.

“I think music streaming will take over,” Roque said. “Big labels in general will not be as important as they are… we start seeing that independent artists will be able to share music with their followers through these programs.”

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