While the streaming industry may seem too crowded for any new competitors to have much of fighting chance, companies like Amazon, Samsung, and Soundcloud have enough leverage and resources to potentially be considered viable challengers.
Guest Post by Hugh McIntyre on Forbes
While it might still be young, the streaming music industry is already a crowded space. A few leaders have been identified (Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, and so on), and many other smaller competitors have either been purchased or have shuttered, while only a few others still hang on.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for any new entrants to survive, but that doesn’t mean some won’t continue to try. There are at least three companies that are working on gaining ground in the business, and they all have the resources to potentially threaten those that have already made a name for themselves.
Aside from selling everything under the sun, Amazon actually has its own streaming music player: The use of Amazon Prime Music comes with a subscription to Amazon Prime, which is a subscription that tens of millions of people have signed up for.
The problem with its music service is that it’s not very impressive, and it certainly isn’t worthy of the largest store on the planet. Amazon Prime Music is lacking in almost everything, including its offerings. It’s safe to bet that as Prime membership grows, the company is looking into building up its in-house streaming platform. Right now, it’s not the sort of thing that anybody would actually pay for (if it was offered outside of the Prime program), but there is no reason why a company like Amazon couldn’t create such a product.
Like Amazon, Samsung actually already has a streaming platform, but that doesn’t mean that the company is satisfied. Milk Music has been around for years now, but it is really losing the popularity battle. Samsung might be a huge company, but its internet radio service has never been able to gain any traction or pick up a substantial number of listeners, especially ones that are willing to pay to use it.
For some time, many in the industry were wondering if the tech giant was going to purchase Jay Z’s beleaguered Tidal platform and use that as a starting point, but it has been made very clear that such a deal is not in the works. So, if not Tidal, what will Samsung do to better its position in the streaming music world, which is something it is looking into? It could snap up another competitor, it could revamp its existing product, or it could launch something entirely new. What will happen isn’t clear, but it needs to happen soon, otherwise Samsung might not have a chance to catch up to the most established services. Samsung has the money to make something work here, and because of past failures, the determination is present as well.
Millions of people already go to SoundCloud for their music listening needs, but the company is working on something big that will change it fundamentally. Right now, the music site doesn’t charge people anything to listen, and that’s problematic. The company is often in financial trouble, and record labels and artists around the world are often upset about people uploading their music and royalties not being delivered.
It has been known for some time that SoundCloud is working on turning itself into a more legitimate streaming service, though it isn’t clear what that will look like or when it will arrive. Since it already has millions of loyal users, there is reason to believe that many of them will at least be willing to try out whatever proper service SoundCloud comes up with, which is typically half the battle.