With the total number of audio streams currently reaching 260 million per week, it comes to no surprise that the Official Singles Chart will now start including audio streams from services such as Spotify, Deezer and Napster from the 6th July, with 100 streams of a song counting as the equivalent of one single download. Though this won’t make a significant difference to the music industry itself, (but will present an additional way for new artists to gain more exposure) the increasing popularity of streaming will present changes in the way brands and streaming sites can reach out to fans and consumers.
As the target audience becomes younger and less patient, big shot brands such as Apple and Amazon have been struggling with the progressive decrease in CD and digital sales as a result of the fast and effective delivery of real-time tracks. In addition to that, streaming sites can oblige to our eclectic and ever-changing taste in music by providing a much wider musical selection for us to listen to whenever and wherever we want.. and for free. Typically, brands’ reaction to such threats would lead them to follow up alternative and even newer ways to appeal to the consumer. This time, however, their approach is very much of the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” persuasion..
We can now start listening to to our favourite oldie or guilty pleasure your on a plethora of brand-backed services – most notably Amazon Prime Music, Apple Beats Music and Youtube’s upcoming (and still nameless) music streaming platform. As a result of brands becoming even more involved in the music industry, the music fan and the consumer will be perceived as a single key target for the brands’ future business choices.
This is because brands will now be able to monitor their users’ preferences and find further opportunities to reach out by using our (secret and surprising) musical choices as market research. Maybe we’ll go on Amazon and see they’ve re-stocked their supply with limited editions of Crazy Frog just in time for Christmas, or find out that the obscure jungle remix of “9 to 5” that is on constant repeat at the office is now being used in the new iPad ad..
So will streaming sites try to beat brands at their own game by branching out into selling merchandise or sponsoring events? The prospect of buying Deezer shoes or finding a frozen bags of Spoti-fries at Sainsbury’s seems unlikely, but the risk of pure streaming services fading away as brands start fulfilling our needs as consumers and music fans is very real. All will be revealed in due course, in the meantime.. who fancies Spoti-fries right now?