Remember the days when people bought CD albums to use them in portable CD players or the built-in CD players in their car? Utilizing CDs to listen to music seems like something from the past. The decline of CDs started around the 2000s when Internet-based files, like MP3s, started becoming more popular.
With the growing popularity of the Internet and MP3 files, there were sites being created where people could download free music. The most popular site was Napster where people started to share copyrighted music on this peer-to-peer service. Now with the ability to download free music on MP3 files came MP3 players. The iPod was one of the most popular MP3 players that came out. I even owned the original bulky iPod that connected to your car using an FM transmitter before Bluetooth was invented.
Eventually, these peer-to-peer services ran into legal trouble and were shut down. This is when Apple launched their iTunes Store, which was an online music library. The iTunes Store allowed people to download music for $0.99 per song. This became very popular since it allowed people to download music in a legal method or pumping their computers full of malware and viruses.
Then, another music company, Pandora Radio was created, which is a free personalized online radio application. It was the first of this type of streaming service that individualized a radio station for each user. It also had built-in algorithms that figured out other music you might like and stream it automatically based on a song or artist you listened to. Pandora eventually started airing ads between songs and then offered a paid subscription offering for listeners that did not want to listen to ads. This paved the way for other streaming apps and services that are being used today.
The introduction of smartphones and smart devices has also played a part in the evolution of music. These streaming applications could now be used on these devices instead of just on a computer, which became instantly popular because of mobility. People could now just stream music from their phone. They could even link the music from the phone to their cars through Bluetooth.
Now music streaming services have taken over the music industry. Streaming options today is not just Pandora and Spotify. Companies are now investing in music streaming like Apple with Apple Music, YouTube with YouTube Music App, and Amazon with Amazon Prime Music.
Music streaming is also affecting music labels and artists. Some artists have opposed the streaming of music and continued to release music albums while some artists have started to embrace streaming, selling the rights to their music to these streaming services. Jay-Z has realized the potential in streaming by launching his own streaming service, TIDAL.
This revolution of on-demand music streaming does not seem to be going anywhere. These streaming service companies are seeking new rights agreements with some major music labels. Downloading of music might have been in the past. Free music streaming with advertisements and subscription-based music streaming looks more like the future.