The US Music Industry Had Its Biggest Year Thanks to Music Streaming Services

In a recent sales and revenue report, the Recording Industry Association of America estimated that the American music industry experienced its biggest gain since 1998 last year. The report notes that retail revenues from recorded music in the United States grew 11.4% in 2016, reaching $7.7 billion thanks to an increase music streaming. In 2016, paid music streaming services saw a doubling of subscriptions with the emergence of different platforms and better services. But with the increase sales of physical products and digital downloads continue to fall significantly. With the report noting although the increased revenue, what is being earned now is merely half of what it was in 1999.

Apple Unveils Apple Music

Undoubtedly the highlight of this year’s WWDC was the unveiling of Apple’s long-awaited music streaming service. Simply dubbed Apple Music, the service — the culmination of the Cupertino giant’s $3 billion USD acquisition of Beats Music — aims to streamline the offerings of the music world, offering the ability to stream music, follow artists, watch videos, share and more.

At the heart of Apple Music are “New Music” and “Connect.” While the New Music section will offer the likes of playlists, recommendations, new releases, and a 24/7 Beats1 radio station — a real station (not just a playlist of songs) with real DJs like Zane Lowe that spans three timezones for a seamless handoff — Connect exists as the social aspect of the service, allowing artists to share demos, videos, lyrics, photos and more with a community much larger than that of services like SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Finally, a “For You” section is where users select the artists and genres they like, which will also allow them to see playlists and more related to their choices.

Perhaps best of all? Siri can be used in conjunction with Apple Music to more quickly and easily queue up songs for your listening pleasure.

Apple Music launches June 30 with a three-month trail while subscriptions will cost $9.99 USD per month. There will also be a 6-member family plan available for $14.99 USD.