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Changes in the Music Business


The music business has an ever-changing face. Just look at the evolution of music formats, beginning in vinyl, progressing to cassette and then CD, to the modern digital age where music is mostly produced and sold in digital format.

Music production was once consolidated to just a few major record labels that had complete control of the market, and the methods in which music was distributed and promoted were determined by these prominent labels.

Fast forward now, and the business couldn’t be any different. Yes, the major labels remain, as does their significant influence over the industry, but the music business has drastically changed over the decades and will continue to do so in the future with services like OneWayDistro really helping musicians in this new and exciting world.

Let’s look at some of the most recent changes in the music business world!

Music Streaming Services

Music streaming services are perhaps the most prominent changes in the business since the release of the iPod. It’s becoming one of the most popular ways to consume music, with a 45% growth in paid subscriptions in 2017.

Spotify is leading the way with music streaming, with the company boasting 170 monthly active users and 75 million paid subscribers, while Apple’s Apple Music has around 40 million paid subscribers, showcasing one of the most drastic changes in the music industry.

This is thought to have helped encourage growth in the global music industry, which enjoyed a market growth of 8.1% in 2017.


A reflection on the popularity of streaming music, YouTube has also changed the way in which music and their videos are consumed. Previously, music videos were an exclusive commodity of dedicated music channels, whereas now almost all music videos are watched on YouTube.

Now, if an artist is debuting a new single you can be certain that a YouTube video will accompany it upon release. It’s great for consumers, giving 24/7 access to music and music videos from every artist imaginable, but there have been some issues with record labels, who feel the lack of copyright enforcement has a negative impact on the business.

Regardless of this, one of the biggest ways that YouTube has changed the industry is that it now directly influences how music videos are produced, has contributed to digital music sales overtaking CD sales, and how people consume free music.

Social Media

Promoting music has been forever changed by social media. It’s a platform that has changed how musicians and fans interact, revolutionizing music promotion like few things have. A record label doesn’t need to spend millions on a robust promotional campaign for an upcoming release – musicians are doing it themselves through their social media presence.

Not only does it allow artists and fans to build a closer connection, but it also helps to expand the ways people find new music. Before you had to listen to the radio or read music magazines to discover the emerging talents in music – now you can find them on social media before they even take off.

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