Business News Digital survey says lower-cost streaming services needed

By | Published on Friday 19 July 2013

The big legal music services are not yet appealing to all consumers, or so says a new bit of research conducted by previously reported newish streaming music set-up

And while some of the conclusions of the new survey of just under a thousand consumers do rather conveniently back up the approach is already taking to streaming music, the research does throw some interesting points into the debate about where the streaming market is headed, a debate that has been a hot topic again this week.

Just under half of those surveyed by admitted to accessing music from illegal sources in the last month. Two key reasons given by respondents for going that route, rather than tapping into one of the plethora of licensed download and streaming services that are now available in the UK market, was catalogue gaps and price point.

The former issue is frequently raised by those accessing music illegally – with brand new music often missing on legal platforms because of the release window (where music goes to radio before streaming services) and old music because many labels are yet to fully digitise their archives. And, of course, some artists pull their content (mentioning no names). Respondents said that when they find their favoured artists missing from a service they might pick another act, but might equally head to YouTube or an illegal site where the content is much more likely to be available.

The price point issue – 84% said £10 a month for a mobile-compliant streaming service was too pricey – is interesting in a week when some artists have been insisting that the royalties they receive are already woefully low. Loss-making streaming services would struggle to increase royalty payments without increasing subscription fees.

Though, says’s report, 81% of those surveyed said they listened to less than 200 different tracks in any one month, meaning the all-you-can-eat approach of most on-demand streaming services is unnecessary, and maybe costs savings could be made, and passed onto the consumer, by offering access to less tracks. Which, of course, is one of the options offers.

The streaming firm’s founder Oleg Fomenko told CMU: “This survey shows that if the music industry is to encourage a generation back into paying for music then cheaper services are needed. The hardcore music fan is already well catered for by existing £10 a month services, including’s top tier, but casual listeners need to be convinced of the value of streaming services”.

He added: “That’s why’s £1 a month subscription [offering access to a limited number of tracks] has a vital role to play. We have seen that once listeners begin paying and see what can offer, they often increase their subscription level to take advantage of more features but they need an affordable place to start”.

On the catalogue gap point, he went on: “All this can be done only if record labels and licensing agencies make their full catalogues available. Incomplete catalogues will harm the missing artists, who will lose listeners, and drive consumers to free alternatives such as YouTube or even to illegal services. Services have to be designed with convenience in mind; nobody wants to go to multiple places to get their music”.