For almost ten years, streaming music services have come and gone. Sure, some have lasted longer than others, but so far none has ever made the business model work properly. So can it ever turn into a real, sustainable business?
[W]hile streaming looks inevitable, in many ways its outlook is still grim - and it all comes down to money. Apple and music labels are reportedly still far apart on how much revenue they should share. Spotify wants music labels to lower the rates it pays as it tries to edge into profitability...
Ultimately, though, few of [the] larger tech companies embracing streaming music seem to be doing so as an affirmative strategy, because they ultimately believe streaming music will help sell their other devices or services. Instead, they're primarily worried that if they don't offer a streaming music service, they'll be seen as deficient in some way. Native streaming music may not sell iPhones the way the iTunes Store helped sell iPods - but any perception that Apple has fallen behind the times will ultimately damage its position in every category, not just music.
Effectively, then, streaming is—currently, at least—a loss leader, and it's not really clear that a sustainable industry can ever be built solely on such a thing. Still, you should read the article over at Verge—it makes for an interesting read. [Verge]