Rhythms of music, anywhere and anytime
Music was never closer. To stream music, all you need is a smartphone, internet connection, and the Spotify app.
Even though Scandinavian winters can be bitterly cold, the Swedes are not the proverbial cold Northerners. Quite the opposite: you’d be hard-pressed to find a more musical people among the European nations. The Swedes gave us Abba, the pop group still exceedingly popular on the radio, they gave us Avicii, the DJ, gone too soon, whose rhythms will continue to rule the dance floors across the world, and they gave us Spotify, the creator of the song streaming app that changed the world of music.
In 2010, the service was used by less than half a million monthly subscribers, a number that exceeded 83 million by the middle of 2018. For 9.99 euros or 10 dollars a month, they can browse the library without additional cost, with access to over 35 million songs, and an additional 20,000 music contributions being added every day. Life per month was never this musical.
A decade ago, all music fans who wanted more than just to visit concerts and who did not want to have their music completely dictated by radio employees, had fairly limited options for listening to popular songs. For a while, the solution laid in cabinets full of vinyl records that could only be enjoyed in their living rooms. They were succeeded by boxes full of cassettes, which the more active listeners could listen to on the go, on their walkman. Along with its successor, the discman, it introduced a revolution in how people listened to music.
But even the era of cassettes, and later CDs, was relatively short; it was ended by the rise of digital music, which soon took over torrent sites, personal computers, USB keys, and mp3 players. The real breakthrough came with smartphones and apps that can play music non-stop – anywhere, anytime.
The currently most famous Spotify star earned over 1.3 million dollars with his biggest hit alone.
This is the trend dictated by music streaming providers, where the Swedish Spotify, alongside the American giant Apple, which has over 40 million customers subscribing to its Apple Music, is by far the largest player, with double the numbers boasted by Apple.
But that alone is not enough for commercial success. Even though the Swedes are expecting 20 to 30 percent increases in revenues in 2018, compared to the previous year (ranging between 4.9 and 5.3 billion euros), they are expected to operate with a loss at least until 2019. The investors are less confident than they were only a few months ago, when the stock values at the end of June 2018 were quoted at about a third higher than at the initial public offer (IPO) in April. Until now, they’ve dropped by about six percent.
Regardless of what the investors and the balance sheets say, Spotify is already an extremely powerful player in the music industry. Ranking on one of the most listened Spotify playlists, to which over 20 million users are subscribed, can make a musician’s career.
A study by the European Commission and the University of Minnesota showed that a Spotify performer can earn between 80,000 to 163,000 dollars (about 4000 dollars per million streams) in copyright fees per day, with just one song.
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The Columbian star J Balvin, who was the most popular artist on Spotify platforms in the summer of 2018, earned over 1.3 million dollars with his song »X« alone, which was streamed more than 330 million times. Ed Sheeran, whose songs were streamed 6.3 billion times by the end of 2017, earned significantly more.
Many love their music, others find it very annoying, but no matter; the library selection is large enough to spend a lifetime listening to only your preferred music. And that is the magic of Spotify and other music streaming providers, who are fast becoming some of the most visible representatives of the subscription economy.