Saviours or Burdens? The Effects of Streaming Services on the Music Industry

Robyn Nicholson


This research essay provides an overview of streaming services and their effects on the music industry, and the tensions they have created between various stakeholders. The problem of the “end” of the music industry is addressed through discussing the transition of music from analog to digital, the history of music piracy, and the value of music as a commodity. Technological, institutional, and cultural tensions are highlighted, and revenue distribution is described and analyzed, as is the interplay of algorithmic and human curation of playlists. Legal issues are also raised involving the privacy of users and intellectual property rights of artists. A middle ground is sought, and possible solutions are proposed to reconcile these tensions, with the future of the music industry in mind.


streaming services, streaming technology, music industry, Spotify

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