eMarketer: 2012 Will Be A Big Year For Streaming Music

Cloud based streaming of music will be a key digital trend this year, according to a report by eMarketer. Rapid adoption of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices has shifted consumer expectations. Now, consumers expect consumption to be seamless across all of their connected platforms. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for content providers and advertisers as they move to meet those expectations.

Music is a key example of content that consumers will seek to access mobilely and across multiple devices. Platforms and technologies that give listeners instant access to their music collection on their assortment of devices are perfectly suited to this challenge.

Streaming music, or cloud based music as eMarketer refers to it, will get its long term test in 2012. 

While a large part of the challenge to these online services is to keep listeners happy as they tune in on their collection of devices, that’s precisely the opportunity for streaming music as well. Music collections used to live at home, and then moved onto an ipod, but were purchased, collected and synced by the listener as a physical library. Cloud based music changes all of that, enabling listening to streaming services to replace the purchase of music. Services that allow that – from Pandora to Spotify to Amazon’s and Apple’s cloud services – are increasingly preferred by consumers.

Of course, the challenge in this major shift from purchasing music to streaming it from a service is the revenue, and the question remains whether the services can make money through subscriptions and advertising to cover licensing obligations and survive.

All of these challenges take place within a digital experience that continues to evolve – mobile commerce, targeted ads, privacy and social media are lending to an increasingly sophisticated online marketplace.


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