Tuesday, November 17, 2015

As Streaming Music Grows, It Starts To Consolidate

The streaming music industry is transforming quickly.  Apple buys Beats and creates Apple Music, then closes Beats.  Jay Z buys Tidal to bring the art of the music to those with a passion for high fidelity.  And today we learn that Pandora plans to buy out Rdio.  Per reports, Rdio must first declare bankruptcy before Pandora can buy out all their assets and hopefully retain most of their subscribers.  I'm surprised that Apple was not mentioned as a possible suitor for Rdio, but such is the fast changing nature of this industry.

With Pandora and Spotify still the market leaders, one wonders if Apple sees an opportunity as a niche player in this market or a desire to buy out one of the top dogs.  And given the employee turnover at Tidal, one can wonder how much longer they will be in the mix.  As I wrote last week in my blog on free music, streaming subscription music services still have to compete with commercial radio, many that have created their own apps to provide an alternative choice.  If you don't mind the commercials, its not a bad alternative.  Heck, even Sirius, the paid car and streaming audio service has channels that include commercials too. 

As for Rdio, the ride was a short one.  You will be a footnote in the history of streaming music but not the only one as consolidation is likely to continue.  The pace of change may be quicker but it is the nature of a very quickly changing media landscape.