Vinyl Record Sales Surges And Music Events Go Viral, Thanks To Rising Popularity Of Online Music Streaming
May 19, 2016
Anne Kings in Music Industry, Vinyl, music online, music streaming, usic Event, vinyl records

Downloads of music clips are down, and sales of music compact discs (CDs) are dropping—both of which are casualties of the battle for the hearts and minds of millions of music buffs who are more than willing to pay a few bucks to hear their favorite tunes. And the winner of this particular round happens to be online music streaming, which (to those who might have been living in a cave the past year) plays a cell device user’s favorite songs at a few simple clicks.

Online music streaming is very user-friendly: no need to waste time downloading the ditty on your phone or laptop before you can hear it. Neither is the user dependent on another drive or feature where must pop in the CD. Like its video counterpart, online music streaming is set to conquer the airwaves, with an enthusiastic market base equipped to playlist entire songs by Katy Perry or going down the poignant memory lane of listening to the late Prince’s top ten hits.

The numbers show it. According to the San Antonio Express News, online music streaming raced past digital downloading in 2015 to become the number one revenue generator in the music business to the tune of $2.4 billion in sales. It also maintained a narrow margin over the rival format as the market share leader, contributing 34.3 percent of all industry sales, compared to digital downloading which accounts for 34 percent. And while the sales of online music streaming is projected to rise, industry observers have noted the decline of sales in digital downloading: sales of digitally downloadable albums fell by more than five percent in 2015, while those of digital singles decreased by 12 percent.

The trend is not exclusive to the US. A report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation says that digital streaming in Down Under now comprises 62 percent of the entire industry’s market share, while contributing $46 million to the national economy. In contrast, digital downloads fell by 13 percent while sales of CD’s continued to decline at four percent.

Speed and convenience are not just the factors that are making online music streaming the rage. Combine both and you get the immediacy of the experience. A Millennial who wants to rave to the sounds of Rihanna while riding the tube has something in common with the work-at-home mom who wants to reminisce about the more romantic days with her husband while listening to Celine Dion: they both want their emotions to move to the beat of the music at that particular moment – which means “now.” Doing it by plunking a CD into a laptop drive or downloading digital sounds only delays the gratification

“People who live, move and do business in our wired world relish that immediate experience, which makes constant connectivity a must,” say Gil Amelio, chairman of tech company 5BARz International. “Nothing must interrupt whatever activity they are doing that plugs them to the digital world. Whether they want to buy a book online, pay their credit cards online, or listen to music online, it has to happen, and there cannot be any disruption,” he says.

5BARz International, Inc. has done more than its fair share of ensuring constant connectivity to the millions of cell device owners who had bought and are using the network extender. The network extender is a plug-and-play device that easily jacks up the weakening cell signals of the cell devices around it within a 4,000-square-feet radius. Tourists who travel to remote destinations, businessmen flying to international conferences, and hotel guests who find themselves in a wi-fi dead zone find that they can always have access to strong, uninterrupted internet connection, thanks to the network extender.

The immediacy of the music experience that Amelio refers to can also explain why live music events have also caught on and are becoming part of the ‘playlist’ in online music streaming. As reported by the Deccan Chronicle, organizers of international music festivals held in cities as distant as Glastonbury and Hyderabad are tapping into online music streaming to open the event to fans who otherwise would not have been able to attend. Sometimes, little things like enormous distances, cost of transportation, and the occasional illness can stop the most ardent fan from trooping into a concert in a nearby town that he had waited for a long time. Online streaming music of a live band playing or a rock singer belting out the latest hits has evolved from a temporary solution to a viable alternative.

Another bonus that live music streaming gives is elevating the musical event from a local celebration to a global virtual showcase. The artist, his songs, the venue of his performance (e.g. a café, mall, or an arena), and the city itself are promoted to millions of audiences who can hear the music online.

Interestingly while online music stream has contributed to the downfall of CD sales, it has boosted that of the old-style, old-school vinyl records that can only be played on a turntable. The BBC report notes that these vinyl buyers are avid record collectors and music aficionados who still cherish the traditional way of playing music because of the way it seems to bring them back to a more culturally refined, classier era.

In a trend that mixes the age-old search of classic musical choices with new technology, these music fans turn to online music streaming to listen to the old favorites captured in vinyl, before actually making a purchase. This approach has worked and placed vinyl records again on the musical map. Demand for them has been climbing high steadily and consistently for eight years, culminating in a record-high increase in sales of 64 percent and a total of 2.1 million vinyl albums sold in 2014.

These trends that have been triggered by online music streaming may just be the beginning, as its rise is far from stopping and will climb upward in 2016, says Digital Music. One indication is that music-loving cell device users are switching from sites that offer free music to music-streaming portals that charge them a membership subscription fee. Spotify has 30 million paying subscribers, while Apple Music has about 11 million. And that is just the beginning.

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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