Earlier this year, Rolling Stone Magazine reported that paid music streaming subscriptions in the US experienced their biggest year-on-year jump in 2020. Some 15 million people signed up for various platforms for the first time, bringing the total number of paying North American subscribers to more than 75 million people.
This astronomical rise of interest in music streaming isn’t unique to the US. In South Africa, leading market and consumer data provider Statista projects that the local music streaming segment will be worth US$55 million in 2021. That revenue is expected to grow by almost 13% every year, resulting in a projected market volume, says Statista, of US$89 million by the year 2025. By then, music streaming users in South Africa are expected to number over 7 million people.
One platform that is seeing ever-increasing interest from people and usage around the world is HUAWEI Music. Available on HUAWEI AppGallery, as well as pre-installed on most Huawei devices, this music streaming service is used by over 160 million people worldwide every month. Its library is huge, boasting over 50 million tracks and 1.2 million albums – the equivalent of more than 300 years of non-stop music. South African users are treated to the best local and global hits and artists, Couple this with crystal clear audio and a very easy to navigate user interface, it’s no surprise that HUAWEI Music is gaining in popularity.
While music streaming dates to the emergence of Napster in 1999, its grip really started to take hold in the mid to late 2000s. By the early 2010s, a number of today’s most prominent platforms already existed and were starting to differentiate their offerings for, and secure their grip on, an international market hungry for easy access to an infinite variety of music.
Before too long, labels and artists had no choice but to make their music available on as many platforms as possible – doing so became a critical business move. Those who failed to keep up with the times, quickly fell away. CDs (but not vinyl records) sat, and continue to sit, on the shelves of music stores, unsold.
The shift hasn’t been without its controversies. Over the years, artists have complained that they earn too little for their work, with streaming platforms taking significant cuts. The model has also been accused of favouring major artists and big labels over smaller acts and independent labels, even if the latter are listened to frequently. This is not the case with HUAWEI Music, which proudly boasts not only international artists but up-and-coming talent as well.
Listeners have challenges too. South African music lovers wanting to stream their favourite artists continue to be hamstrung by the high costs of data. While almost 25 million South Africans currently own a smartphone, the costs involved in streaming music and in having a streaming subscription often prevent them from enjoying the full advantages of their devices.
Challenges, however, are often just opportunities for change. As technology evolves, and the demands of both artists and listeners shift, it’s likely that music streaming will adapt too.
The music platform of global technology giant, HUAWEI, has already started to address some of these issues. For example, when it was launched in 2018, HUAWEI Music decided to prioritise and support local music, with 80% of its content coming from South African artists. A substantial portion of this music is available for free with additional content available through a paid portal, which won’t dent users’ wallets at all.
To address data concerns, HUAWEI makes its music available in several different sound qualities, from low to super (super sound quality, however, can only be accessed through the subscription option). Playing songs in low or standard quality will help to limit the amount of data required, ensuring that users’ data won’t be gone after they have listened to just a couple of tracks. Listeners can also choose to download songs they love when they have a reliable internet connection, and listen to them offline.
As we look to the future of streaming services, platforms that meet the needs of artists and listeners alike will certainly come out tops. To take advantage of HUAWEI Music’s vast array of benefits, start exploring the platform today!