Digital music: Stuck in the middle with Spotify

For those with insatiable appetites for music, digital streaming seems like a dream come true. Music fans can simply select artists and genres, and then press play. They see what other fans listen to, and consume a seemingly endless supply of tunes.

Digital music services are like 24-hour all-you-can-eat (and whatever-you-want) restaurants of sound. And yet the digital music landscape continues to narrow. Independent providers that once served a broad range of artists and fans have been snapped up by big companies with deep pockets and ties to major labels. Google has owned YouTube—named the number one music-streaming platform since 2006. In February, YouTube spent $8m to acquire BandPage, a San Francisco start-up that helps artists sell merchandise, concert tickets and fan experiences.

In 2014, Beats Music, a subscription-based streaming service, bought Topspin Media, another innovative platform that helped artists sell merchandise and albums directly to fans. A year later, Apple bought Beats Music (along with Beats’ electronic-gadget business), and then discontinued the streaming service when it launched Apple Music.

Source: The Economist

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