Streaming services to shift music trends


Q:Will Spotify transform Irish music listening habits?

Irish music fans were given free access to over 18 million tracks this week with the long overdue arrival of Spotify – the online streaming music company. Streaming is seen as the future of music consumption; companies such as Spotify allow you to access a massive database of music in a legal manner from your computer or smartphone. You can listen to the music as much as you want, without actually owning it or downloading it to your device.

Set up four years ago, Spotify has 15 million users worldwide and is a safe and legal service which directly counters the threat of the illegal downloading of music.

The company is estimated to be worth €2.3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spotify will compete in Ireland with a number of other established music- streaming services, such as Deezer and Eircom Music Hub. All offer a similar service.

Since music went digital, making it easy to copy and transfer, the music industry has been struggling against illegal downloading music sites which are mainly responsible for the freefall in physical music sales and the sense of financial crisis in the record industry. Spotify and similar services are an attempt to counter piracy.

With streaming services still in their infancy, it is not yet possible to directly link their growing popularity with an equivalent decline in physical CD/MP3 download sales. There will always be music fans who want to own a piece of music as opposed to being able to stream it.

The legal streaming services are moving people away from illegal downloading sites. The amount of free and legal music available on streaming sites is a powerful incentive for music fans.