Browse all

Are music streaming platforms going through a crisis?

How subscription-fatigue is changing the way we listen to music

Are music streaming platforms going through a crisis? How subscription-fatigue is changing the way we listen to music

Unlike video streaming services, music streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music have almost identical catalogs because they have signed agreements with the same record labels. The difference between one service and another lies mainly in certain features: Tidal has chosen to focus on higher audio quality, while Spotify aims to expand into the podcast and audiobook market. The number of subscribers to these services reached 713 million global users in 2023, with a market value of over 17 billion euros, yet many are starting to get tired of music streaming due to the increase in subscription prices. This is suggested by research conducted by the U.S. company Bango, reported by the website Digital Music News: the study, based on a sample of 2200 people using paid streaming services, shows that 60% of users have canceled at least one subscription due to rising costs, while 66% say they can no longer afford the subscriptions. Consumers today prefer to choose between music, TV, gaming, or other streaming services. According to various experts, “subscription-fatigue” will lead streaming services to merge with other video consumption platforms to counteract the general decline in subscriptions. Already today, in the United States, Amazon Prime subscribers are entitled to limited access to Amazon Music, while YouTube Premium subscribers can also use YouTube Music ad-free; in Australia, the mobile phone company Optus has included Amazon Music in some types of subscriptions.


Could everything-apps be the solution?

It is expected that in the coming years the bundling of services (known as super-bundling) will gain more market share, similar to what has happened in Asia. According to Bango's research, 77% of respondents believe this approach is the best response to rising subscription prices. The so-called “everything-app”, an application through which users can do many different things, has been a much-debated topic in the Western tech sector for years, especially in Silicon Valley. The main reference is to hugely successful platforms in China like Weibo and WeChat, products that simultaneously provide a wide range of services, from instant messaging to digital payments to social media. With WeChat, used by 1.2 billion people worldwide, users can order food, exchange messages, apply for a mortgage, rent a bicycle, and access their home banking. Weibo and WeChat are also called “super-apps” because they function as main platforms on which other external services rely, connected through smaller apps.

@uptin #elonmusk #everything #techtok original sound - Uptin

While in China, besides WeChat, there is another super-app, Alipay, in Southeast Asia, Grab is very popular, allowing users to order food, rent transportation, and make payments – while in Indonesia, a similar service called Gojek is quite popular. It will not be easy to bridge the gap between the most used applications in the West and the Asian super-apps, and it is not certain that this model can work everywhere due to social and cultural differences between countries. It is no coincidence that super-apps have taken off precisely in Asia, where the spread of the Internet was late but very fast, quickly influencing many developing sectors. In Asia, the web almost entirely skipped its “desktop phase”, spreading directly via smartphones, creating a truly “mobile-first” way of conceiving the network. To understand if Western streaming services are really destined to group together replicating the Asian model as much as possible, we will need to wait for the first launch of a domestic Weibo. And it seems that the first experiment is signed by Elon Musk.