Many musical commentators would argue that we are moving quickly into the next online paradigm of music sales; Streaming and subscription based services. 


Harrison (2011, p200) provides a succinct description of “the subscription model”. Harrison  (2011, p200) also states that “Subscription services allow subscribers access to all the music they want for a monthly fee, sometimes with an option to purchase selected tracks.” She ends this point by explaining that “Once the subscription ends, the music is no longer available.” In essence, she describes an environment where the consumer pays a monthly subscription in return for unlimited access.


Popova (2010) interviews leading music industry figures for a ‘Wired Magazine’ feature in which Krissi Murrison (2010), former editor of the ‘NME’, depicts a belief that streaming will soon be at the forefront of music sales, highlighting that “The MP3 looks likely to suffer the same decline in sales as the CDs did, with streaming becoming the norm”. Murrison predicts an era of streaming, yet begs the question; “But will the meagre subscription and advertising cuts that bands and labels make be enough to sustain them?”. Murrison understands that streaming will become the primary outlet for consumers, but holds concern that bands and labels may lose out financially. 


However, Mark Mulligan (2012), a Music Industry blogger; admits that downloads are “5 1/2 times more valuable to artists than streams.” But goes on to explain how “It is also worth noting that the artist streaming pay out rate ($0.005) is actually 45% of the rights owner pay out rate ($0.0112). So artists are earning nearly the same out of streaming as the labels and publishers.” Mulligan raises the point that the earning disparity between the parties involved is in fact reduced with streaming.


In conclusion, although it appears as though streaming will move ahead in terms of sales, there are several issues that will continue to provide a platform for debate; affecting not only the artists, labels and publishers but the streaming service providers, like Spotify as well. 





  • Harrison, A. (2011) – Music, The Business. The Essential Guide to the Law and the Deals. Fifth   Edition. London, Random House.