Music streaming has changed the industry and pushed revenues higher than in over a decade, so what comes next?

This is what has been pondered upon by experts in recent months following a phenomenal decade that has seen streaming overtake listening habits around the world. With 80% of recorded music revenues in the US coming from streaming last year, what does the future hold for this massive industry?

Analysts have been discussing what the future will bring and what they want to see happen in music streaming at various MIDEM conferences in the past year. Let’s take a look at some of their biggest points.

Marie-Anne Robert, global head of Artist Development at Believe Digital, reckons music is becoming refocused on consumers rather than artists. She says that streaming services are more positioned to appeal to their listeners whilst traditional label services are more for the artist.

Robert said: “Streamers’ mission is to provide the best service to consumers, so when streamers get close to artists, it’s to leverage them as marketing tools to get closer to consumers.” This isn’t a negative for artists, we are seeing loads of artists who are hitting major success thanks to streaming platform’s efforts to provide listeners with new music to listen to.

Playlists have become an incredible promotional tool where inclusion on a top playlist by a curator on Spotify can break an artist on a global stage. Using their personalisation, curation and machine-learning algorithms they are able to push artists to more people and please listeners by providing them music tuned to their tastes.

Scott Ryan, Vice President of music at Gracenote, sees the need to clean up metadata in the future of music streaming services. For example, simple issues like bands with the same names being lumped together on streaming services. A solution to tidy this up won’t be simple but will help to smooth out the experience.

Ryan said: “It’s the need for clean data. The need for context. There’s something like 40 bands called Exile, so how do I know which is the right one? It’s only created that many more opportunities for confusion.”

A big one is the question of how to make streaming services more social. Sure, we can sure our favourite tunes on Messenger or add a song to our Instagram Stories, but what about in-built social features on music streaming services?

Music streaming platforms have hundreds of millions users every day accessing their apps and websites. Bill Patrizio reckons that some way for artists and listeners to communicate with each other and share news or announcements.

Bill Patrizio, the President and CEO at Rhapsody International/Napster, says: “I see the artist community wanting desperately to create this fandom and this intimacy with fans… So if the DSPs could find a way to be more social, and foster these connections…”

It’s been a phenomenal year for platforms with growth and innovation like never before. What do you think the next decade of music streaming will contain?