High res? Or just High $$?

Music Streaming Services and the people that listen. Us.

neil-youngNeil Young and High Resolution streaming service Pono

Neil Young is giving us yet another high streaming music service called Pono.

With so many companies offering streaming services nowadays it’s hard to know where to turn for your music. Services across the board offer things like high resolution, largest music library, exclusive content, blah blah blah. Music labels and publishers are fighting for a dime (or more like a penny) from what these streaming services pay, and customers are just left confused with all the talk about better, bigger and more.

We live in the US, of course we want bigger, better and more. But whats better than that? As many of my fellow Americans would say: Free. Why would I pay for a high resolution streaming service when I can get one that sounds just as good (to me) coming out of computer speakers in the morning while I brush my teeth?

Let’s face it, the majority of consumers that use streaming services are a younger demographic. Teens and young adults are the current and future clientele for these streaming services. So what makes someone choose Spotify over Pandora, YouTube Red over Soundcloud, Tidal over Google Play? All of these are sound choices for streaming music, some with subscription fees and others free.

In my experience I tend to bounce from Spotify to Soundcloud and on occasion over to Tidal and Pandora if i’m feeling lucky. I’ve never used YouTube Red but the more I read about it the more interesting it becomes. What do consumers want? What do WE want? When I go through all of these services there is one thing that I absolutely love and hear other people raving about:

Customization. Personalized service.

Spotify recently added their ‘Daily Mix’ that is based on your music picks, it compiles an individualized playlist based on your history. Through a sophisticated algorithm or some type of history tracking system, they mix in new music and songs you’ve heard over and over on your favorite playlists.

Usually this feature is spot on, but as I started using it more consistently, I’ve become bored with the track listing, seems like it’s the same songs just shuffled differently with one or two new tracks interspersed within the songs.

I know Apple Music has some good curators at work and the ‘explore’ option on YouTube Red is a rabbit hole you know you don’t (but really do) want to go down. In the end, its what works best for my individual needs and tastes. Kind of like a workout or meal plan, there is not ‘one size fits all’ system or glove. I would figure out the best possible way to deliver the music we want to hear, or didn’t even know we wanted to hear directly to our headphones/speakers/audio systems.

That is what I would focus on. The consumer. The potential future paying consumer, getting hooked on a free service that later on becomes not so free and since I’m so hung up and hooked on it I cannot say no to the nominal fee it costs every month to use. THAT is the strategy, that is the play. Creating a service that caters to our individual listening/viewing habits and creates a product of perfection. With less repetition, less ads, more amazing finds and  ‘shazaam’ built in (because we don’t always know a song playing overhead). Perfect.

All of these streaming services need to get our of their own way. Imagine having a targeted music streaming service that is all of the above. An integrated exclusive user- experience- killer- music curated- playlist that is free and eventually becomes paid. Game over.

Although some services claim to do just that, I have yet to find the one that encompasses what I just mentioned above to its highest potential. It’s almost like all of them need to combine into one huge entity. And who knows, that may be in the works as I write this.

Killer fact: YouTube only needs to convert less than 3% of its monthly audience into paying Red customers to have more subscribers than music streaming’s market leader, Spotify.

Now if only we could figure out how to pay dividends from streaming services where they are due. Let’s not open Pandora’s box. Not yet anyways.



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