Here’s the headline -- on-demand audio streaming services were up a whopping 103% with consumers last year, while digital music downloads were down for the first time ever. In other words, we have reached that point where on-demand streaming has overtaken downloads and recharacterized the meaning of music “ownership.” Essentially, the consumer value proposition underlying the “rental” model -- with on-demand access to millions upon millions of tracks -- has finally been realized on a mass scale.
And, to think that only a couple years ago, most pundits believed that this rental/subscription model never would catch on -- i.e., that consumers demanded what they defined as being true content “ownership.”
Way back in the day, I saw this coming and had a front seat to these developments all along the way. I served as President & COO of online music pioneer Musicmatch (acquired by Yahoo! for $160 million) from 2002-2004, and we launched one of the first-ever on-demand music streaming services. From that time forward -- as Musicmatch became Yahoo! Music which became Rhapsody -- I have primarily consumed music via on-demand streaming (rather than via music downloads and, certainly, via CDs). That’s 10+ years of on-demand streaming for me.
And they said it wouldn’t happen ....