Monday, June 9, 2014

Who Will Be The Last Streaming Service Standing?

Songza login screen image
Reports last week that Google is in talks to acquire Songza, a six year old music curation and streaming service, show that an industry-wide rollup in streaming services is now in real possibility. This is on the heels of Apple snapping up Beats Music recently, and may be a sign of things to come in the sector.

Although Songza is a relatively minor player in the space with only 5.5 million active users, it does show that the major players are interested in acquiring infrastructure or feature parts they don’t currently have in order to quickly compete with the other major players. Songza is known for its music curation, which could be immediately integrated into Google Play Music All Access (perhaps the world’s worst brand name) in order to compete with an anticipated new Apple streaming service. Beats Music’s main feature is also curation, and having Apple jump out in front with that feature would require Google Play to catch up even more than it has to already.

It’s still unclear whether curation is the killer feature that music consumers want though. A trusted source has always been the key to popularizing new music, from radio DJs to MTV to music critics, but as of yet no single curation source has risen above the rest online as the de facto standard. In fact, it can be speculated that curation doesn’t actually matter much at all, given the fact that Beats Music subscriber numbers are so low at between 110,000 to 250,000, depending on what you read. It was the feature that the service hung its hat on, yet it wasn’t something that consumers flocked to when it became available.

That said, there are indications that we’re beginning to see what has been predicted as a slow rollup of smaller streaming players that will eventually leave only the major players of Amazon, Google and Apple, and maybe one or two of the smaller ones, standing. Read more on Forbes.

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