Boom in Audio Streaming

By Denzel Apangchan

On-demand audio streaming is one of the most popular methods of music consumption for Americans in 2017 and College of Southern Nevada students are no exception.

“The first half of 2017 has seen some incredible new benchmarks for the music industry,” wrote Dave Bakula, senior vice president of Nielsen Music on The Nielsen Company LLC’s website, which tracks what consumers watch and buy. “The rapid adoption of streaming platforms by consumers has generated engagement with music on a scale that we’ve never seen before.”

Premium services such as Spotify, TIDAL and YouTube Red allow listeners to enjoy music cheaply and effortlessly throughout the day. Such convenience are causing many to veer away from terrestrial radio and purchasing CDs and digital downloads from their favorite artists.

CSN students confirm that their music consumption is done mostly through streaming services with Spotify being the most prevalent.

Ulises Casillas, journalism major, said that 90-to-95 percent of his usage is through Spotify. “It’s cheaper to just stream [music] than having to buy every individual album. I’m a man on the go and a man on the go has to listen to music in his car, while he’s walking, maybe go for a run and I can’t do all that with CDs.”

“It is more convenient for me,” graphic-design student Joshua Rodriguez said. “I can listen to an individual song faster [with streaming] than having to find it in an album.”

According to the same article on Nielsen’s website, “On-demand audio streams have reached more than 184 billion so far in 2017, a considerable 62.4 percent increase over the same period last year,” as noted on the Nielsen’s U.S. Music Mid-Year 2017 Report.

Streaming services simply give listeners more authority over their music experiences compared to CD and terrestrial radio. Listeners are not confined to the predictability of CDs and the track selections of a radio station’s DJ.

CSN radio lab Coordinator Andrew Kolb is not surprised at all about the decline of CDs and the rise of streaming.

“It’s just the evolution of technology,” he said. He explained that as technology advances outdated versions die out. “When the cassette tape came out, 8-tracks faded away. When the CD came out, vinyl faded away. Now that music went to streaming, CDs are slowly fading away.”

When it comes to music on the airwaves Kolb said, “Streaming radio is going to kill terrestrial radio.” He explained that the new generation is driving this technological pressure on the radio industry because he believes that young people do not listen to terrestrial radio anymore.

“It’s all in your phone,” Kolb continued. He pointed out how listeners are no longer limited to the reach of radio towers because of the Internet. “That’s why streaming radio has taken off. You can listen to music from another state, another country, and I dig that.”

The College’s very own student-run radio station, CSN Streamin’ Radio, which Kolb runs, reaches listeners outside of Las Vegas because it is done through Internet streaming.

Streaming applications grab the attention of music enthusiasts because they offer more than just the audio tracks themselves. Spotify lets users do many things: conveniently create playlists, keep track of new releases, discover new artists, read artist biographies and stay updated on upcoming tour dates. These features are impossible to fit into plastic CD cases.

Yaneliz Mercado, media studies major, said, “[Streaming] beats going into the store to find a CD that you want and to find that artist that you like.”

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