LATELY -- compared to web radio app station playlists, on-demand ad-supported streaming with custom playlists seem to be preferred, since services such as YouTube and Spotify have grown more. Among the on-demand streaming player giants, July and March Billboard reports by Cherie Hu and Ed Christman suggest Apple Music and Spotify significantly pulled ahead with their advertising/subscription-based service model. Oftentimes, subscribing allows for unlocking enhanced features of music applications and stopping advertising from interrupting the music experience.
Most music is available on other platforms for free on-demand play, however; not all music experiences are the same. Services like Spotify offer detailed credits and pull song history/artist biography blurbs from websites like content provided by Genius and other music brands. Some streaming apps have better organization and layout. Some services include album art, while other services (like YouTube) include more videos. Some services are more stable and can maintain streaming quality with any internet connection. Some services cost a few dollars more, some cost a few dollars less.
One of the major differences and issues, however; is still for unpaid listeners. Many who are paying users on one platform roll their eyes when someone shares music with them on a different platform, because either a) they can’t even access it, or b) they are bombarded with advertisements, arguably ruining the music discovery or making it less enjoyable. Also, when services interrupt the music so that it is impossible to continue without completing an ad, it can create an instant demotivating disconnect.
As a result of the service and user segmentation, publishing administrator Songtrust in a tweet referred to it as, “a silent killer for up-and-coming artists in the music industry,” and referenced Forbes article, by media-entertainment contributor Brittany Hodak, about streaming fragmentation, which said, “making it difficult for aspiring musicians to share their art universally makes it difficult for fans to gain access to the music they enjoy.”
Fragmentation has also led from service to service having widely-varying music charts. Sometimes content isn’t offered on every platform, other times inconsistent charting being a result of interface design and how content is optimized, tagged, and presented, actually decreases the quality of the charts compared to word-of-mouth/sharing, or official established music chart sources. It is widely reported, Billboard has been handing United States charting since as early as the 1930’s.
Read more about Billboard’s charting algorithms.
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