A decade ago, it looked like downloadable digital tracks might just kill the music industry. Now, it may well be its salvation.
pending launch of a
new streaming service
is the latest sign of how digital music is reviving the global recording industry. The search engine giant’s new music service is called
Google Play Music All Access
. It will work across multiple devices and it'll cost about $9.99 per month.
Users will get playlists of related artists sent to them from the Google Play library and customers will have the ability to swipe out tracks they don’t want to listen to. The service also gives users the option to manually add songs to a playlist or ask for recommendations.
Google now enters an arena already populated by services such as Pandora
, and other similar products. Next up could be Apple
, which may be close to
a Pandora-like service sometime later in the year.
GOOG data by YCharts
If so, that would be a big shift for Apple, which created the first legal digital marketplace for music with its
The music store, which started out more than a decade ago with 200,000 songs, reached its
25 billionth download
earlier this year. Yet with the arrival of cloud content storage, the whole
has become far less popular. In other words, the great disruptor of music (Apple) has been disrupted by newer players and now needs to rethink its approach.
Google and Apple (should it take the plunge) will have big size advantages if they can develop streaming services that really click with consumers. In this game, scale matters because of royalty costs that must be paid by music streaming services to artists and recording labels.