In the face of an increasingly saturated digital music market, iTunes can be placed in the late majority to consider the Product Life Cycle model because there is no free version of the streaming platform, although there is a free three-month trial period, but the user must commit to the service after using it. There isn’t also a comprehensive application for Android or a music download option on desktop. Apple originally targeted tech-savvy teenagers and young adults when they introduced iTunes. However, as smartphones become ubiquitous and people become more comfortable with electronics, the target market has expanded to include adults and baby boomers.
Apple has focused on gaining market share in teenagers and young adults for its iTunes music distribution software. This market segment is more apt to use, understand, and appreciate accessing millions of songs through iTunes. Apple wants to introduce iTunes as early as possible in a growing child’s life to ensure they remain loyal to iTunes as they grow older.
Apple also wants to ensure they focus their marketing efforts on adults and the baby boomer generation because they continue to increase their understanding and use of digital media.
Streaming allowed consumers to listen to the music they wanted to whenever they wanted to. These services enable consumers to create a personalised experience. In doing so, they have created an audience that is constantly engaging with these platforms through creating content unique to their interests. Most music streaming services have positioned theirselves uniquely in this expansive market in order to target two major segments: students and young business-professionals.
Record companies have adapted to using these services to their advantage like many record companies opt to acquire shares in Spotify while negotiating contracts for their artist’s music. This mutually beneficial relationship, allows Spotify to gain access to the record labels associated artists music, while also increasing record companies profits through the acquisition of shares. This relationship works to ensure that CD sales which have been declining over the past two decades don’t mean the end of a record company. Music streaming services allow record companies to save money on production costs if they’re unsure of whether a new artist will succeed. Initially, the decline in CD sales was credited to the growth of online music stores such as iTunes, however more recently the 30 media and industry have begun to view streaming sites as a cause of declining album sales. Nonetheless, it’s clear to see that music streaming will continue to grow in popularity and as a result the industry must adapt to the ever changing trends in order to maintain a level of growth. The relationship between artists and music streaming services has been fragile since the beginning. Many artist state that they don’t receive as much royalties as they would from an album sale and as a result, don’t wish to be involved with music streaming services. Taylor Swift was the most prominent artist to stand up to the way in which Spotify operated. Many smaller independent record companies removed their catalogues from the service, however they didn’t receive the media attention that Swift did. Swift believed that due to the fact that Spotify offered a freemium service, they didn’t value her music as much as they should and thus the artist opted to remove her entire catalogue from the service. Although this did cause controversy at the time, it’s clear that it hasn’t had a devastating effect on the subscription numbers of Spotify, which continue to grow. With the introduction of every new streaming service comes the discussion over how artists get paid. Apple Music caused controversy by initially refusing to pay artists for streams played during its free trial period. It’s clear to see that there is a difficult relationship between music streaming services and artists.
In comparison to both the music industry and its artists, consumers have benefited the most from the introduction of music streaming services. Consumers have ample options with regards to music streaming services, all of which aim to provide the best service for their subscription base. In most cases, the same artists are available on every service, with the exception of Taylor Swift, which guarantees that the user will find their favourite artist. It’s clear that the technological advances in how music is distributed across the world has had both a positive and negative impact on consumers, artists and the music industry. It seems that consumers have benefited the most from streaming services due to their easy access to large catalogues of music for relatively cheap prices in comparison to the traditional way of buying one CD at a time.
- Camp, G. (2015) ‘Spotify. Https://www.spotify.com/. Retrieved 21 January 2015’, Journal of the Society for American Music, 9(03), pp. 375–378.
- Caulfield, K. (2014) Official: Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ debuts with 1.287 Million sold in First week. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6304536/officialtaylor-swifts-1989-debuts-with-1287-million-sold-in.
- della Cava, M. (2015) Apple music hooks 11 million trial members, App store has record July. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/08/05/apple-music-hooks-11- million-trial-members-app-store-has-record-july/31197721/.
- Covert, A. (2013) A decade of iTunes singles killed the music industry. Available at: http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/25/technology/itunes-music-decline/.
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