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Streaming Music Grows Up

While addressing that growing need represents a goal for most of the streaming services, it is a more immediate need for Spotify, Echo Nest's new parent company and Lucchese's new bosses. According to Ken Parks, Chief Content Officer, Spotify is already active in 55 countries around the world and is expanding into many others.

Parks told TheStreet in a private interview that in addition to some packaging changes to the user interface coming in the short term, the company is focused on reaching directly into markets where the challenges to a Western company are greatest. For that, they need tools to analyze and present effectively in the local cultural context.

Even with their international advantage over the rest of the streaming players, the challenge remains a huge one for Spotify.

"We've got to be best in class at every instance," Parks said.

Partly those challenges will be met by parsing the flood of personal information that is becoming available on each consumer on the planet over the coming years. That "explosion of data" as Lucchese termed it, will be useless without the tools to parse and apply it in ever more intelligent ways.

The streaming sector's challenges, goals and even methods of operation are becoming more homogenous across the board, unifying them on a deeper level in the challenge of shaping the global music business landscape for the rest of the century.

As the purchase of Echo Nest shows, the sector is ripe for consolidation, but brand identity -- once obvious -- is going to become increasingly more imperative. As their functions, philosophies and technologies become more similar, a growing challenge is emerging to create tools and marketing that will more clearly differentiate one service from another for the end user.

-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in Austin, Texas

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