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PSA: Don’t Cross Streams – Music 2015

By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp

Contributor to 

The most influential and guiding moment that shook, destroyed, and led to the new age of music in 2015 was AppleSpotifyTidalTaylor Swift pulling her music off of Spotify near the end of 2014. Thus, in 2015, with four months left to go, the music scene is by far different than it was a year ago.In 2014, the revolutionary streaming place-to-be was Spotify.  In 2015, the music scene and industry is a three-way tug-of-war between Spotify, Apple Music, and TIDAL (with an honorable mention to Google Play’s streaming service, which isn’t bad, but it currently isn’t making moves similar to the three listed).Early 2015 was shaken by Jay-Z’s foray into streaming with his, along with 16 other mega-artists, oligarchy on TIDAL – a high fidelity music streaming service.  Making waves of its own, Apple announced Apple Music in June, which launched in July.  And suddenly, the world of music was streaming everywhere (because buying music is so 2010).  

What made everything interesting was when it was revealed that Dr. Dre’s third and final album would be exclusive to Apple Music (at least for a time).  It (sort of) worked out.  “Compton” was streamed 25 million times in its first week, as compared to 48 million from Drake’s album or 39 million from Kendrick Lamar’s album.Soon after, it was a firestorm to exclusives. It was revealed that Eminem would be launching his“music film” “Phenomenal” to be exclusive to Apple Music.  TIDAL soon announced afterwards that Lil Wayne will be dropping his new album exclusively on the HiFi streaming service later in the year.

Not to be outdone in a field they have shaped and matured, Spotify has worked towards rectifying the image portrayed by Ms. Swift in 2014.  It still isn’t all that well known, but Spotify will slowly but surely be doing more and more for its premium members. It only makes sense that Spotify would lean more towards its paying members. Spotify also is aided by likes of Prince.  Prince has been releasing one song at a time on Spotify.  Spotify also has AC/DC.But with all this said, the services are competing with Spotify, who has most of the market share for the moment (though Apple has roughly 800 million iTunes subscribers who all haven’t made the switch to Apple Music just yet).  The question is, will these exclusives be enough.  So far, the answer doesn’t bode well. Dr. Dre’s album has now seen its way to other services weeks after its Apple Music exclusive release.

The streaming music market has reached its “Wild, Wild West” phase.  But soon, the dust will settle in the streaming world.  The question is: what is best for the people? I firmly believe streaming is a solution to piracy for some, but not for all.  It is a solution to financial constraints for some, but not for all.  Streaming is for some, but not for all.  At the end of the day, it should have nothing to do with what is exclusive to who, but what works best for you.

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August 2015
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