I was reading my morning tech news and out of the recent apple earnings report CEO Tim Cook mentions Apple Music now has 13 million paying users. Interestingly also Spotify has hit 30 million paying users as of March 2016, up from 20 million in June 2015. It has certainly taken a while to catch on in my opinion, the idea of paying for streaming music, but it certainly has. You could stream music online in 2005 rather easily, except back then the concept of paying for streaming was difficult for most people to grasp. However, there are still some problems with streaming music providers, they are not profitable.
Looking at Apple Music first I can't really say whether it needs to be profitable as it is all about keeping users in the apple ecosystem. Personally I have an Apple Music account, and also a paid Spotify account. I like to have both because there is music in some that is not in the other, and vice versa. Spotify however has never really achieved profitability and most of what I'm reading details how the greater the size of Spotify the greater the losses. This could be mostly due to the huge number of free users and the cost to service these users, but I haven't really looking to deeply into the business model myself.
There are also a huge number of other streaming providers, to the point now where it's becoming harder to select which one is the best option. There is a problem here, can each one of these providers be profitable on their own? Can the streaming business model work? I'm not sure whether anyone actually knows yet but there are certainly a few trying. All I can hope for is the music industry to once again financially support artists better, and for all those highly talented artists to be able to grow and develop their careers like they once could before Napster sucked the revenue out of the industry.