This year should be the first time that music streaming revenue meaningfully exceeds download revenue. According to Pitchfork:
Going into 2017, streaming will no longer be a niche for music but the new normal. The big question is no longer whether streaming is the future, but what form that future will take, who will benefit, and what that might mean for listeners.
To mark this pivotal moment in the music industry’s history, Pitchfork published a survey on the state of music streaming. The article goes into depth about each of the major players, evaluating the highlights and lowlights of each and considers what the future may hold.
Apple Music gets high marks from Pitchfork for solidifying its number two position behind Spotify through exclusive deals with artists, but it also points to missteps that angered customers and artists this year. As for the future, Pitchfork predicts more exclusives and algorithmic playlists for Apple Music and concludes that:
Apple was too late to streaming to hold anything like the stranglehold iTunes had over downloads (at least, not yet). Instead, Apple Music’s battle with Spotify may be more like the Mac vs. PC debate: a corporate presentation of chic tastefulness versus an ostensibly techier rival.
The on-going battle between Spotify and Apple will be interesting. Spotify has never turned a profit and Apple has the cash to weather a long, drawn-out fight for the hearts and minds of customers. With the bulk of music revenues now coming from streaming, it looks as though 2017 could turn out to be an interesting year for the music industry.