Music piracy has been a huge challenge facing the record industry in the digital age. The ethical dilemma of paying for music and intellectual property artists work hard to create has been obliterated by online music piracy. From the late 1990s to mid 2000s, applications like Napster and Torrent sites ruled the online music domain. Since the mid 2000s, companies have been scrambling to try and bridge the gap between piracy, and paying for music online. Today, a far more ethical alternative has been sweeping the inter-web landscape: social music applications give users on-demand streaming access to practically all of the worlds recorded music, without any legal risks to the user.
Several big players have emerged in this new explosion of social music platforms. Spotify, Pandora, and Soundcloud are challenging the dominant online platform Apple created in iTunes — iTunes has ruled the internet music market with over 10 billion song downloads since its release. Why is iTunes losing ground to these new platforms? The problem with Apple is that there is little social network interaction or behavior, and there are no unlimited streaming options available.
Then comes Facebook (always trying to get in on every single piece of online pie imaginable). Facebook has recently launched a social music function in their “Listen With” button. It enables users to listen to music with their friends through the existing chat list… and music may just be the beginning. Former music executive Ted Coen explains that if Facebook’s system works the way it should, it would be “The nirvana of interoperability.” Here we explore the social music landscape and the impact it’s having on the way we listen to our favorite bands.
Click here or the graphic below for a full-sized view: