Music streaming

Phil Moore, VP northern and southern EMEA at Deezer, shares his top tips to help you make your music business startup or scaleup a success.

Streaming has revolutionised the way we enjoy music, helping us to appreciate sound without being restricted to traditional radio, poor quality transmissions or portable audio devices.

Instead, we can experience instant, high-quality audio content on our desktops, tablets, phones and even smart speakers  – all without the need to download files.

So it’s not a surprise that when streaming became available around 2007, an estimated 498 online music services launched in over 40 countries worldwide.

Ten years later, and despite the majority of those services no longer being in existence, over 100 million people pay for music every month, emphasising the huge growth and revenue potential for entrepreneurs looking to enter the digital music market.    

Don’t fear the competition

For those looking to take the first step, it’s immediately clear that the streaming world is dominated by several large, global players in addition to some local market players that do very well in their home territories.

Despite the increasing competition in this space, a number of successful emerging brands have been able to cut through the noise by ensuring they provide different USPs, an alternative brand direction or a more personalised and localised approach to content.

In some cases, being a smaller company can even have its advantages against the bigger players. You are in a position to be more agile, more flexible and more adaptable to change – things big corporates are much less likely achieve.

Personalisation of content

A strategy that works well, is understanding and acting on the evolving needs of the user. With the help of proprietary algorithms and real-time analytics combined with human curation, it’s now possible to understand and suggest music that’s based on each user’s exact likes, dislikes and listening habits. The level of personalisation this provides means your offering will better resonate with users, showcasing the ability to be both intuitive and bespoke.

We’re also seeing that this personalised content is even more powerful when integrated with smart speakers that allow people to enjoy music and content through voice. This means that they can bring up their favourite songs or old forgotten classics using a simple command such as ‘Play my Flow’. This is a real growth opportunity for technology brands.

Hire the best music editors

It is not just about data analysis however, it is also important that you hire the best music experts to tap into their knowledge and wealth of existing music content, including the ability to foresee upcoming trends. This includes hiring local editors in local markets and ensuring that you have artist marketing and label relations teams who understand how the industry works and which campaigns work best for both artists and fans. It also enables you to launch your own programmes where you can directly champion and grow up and coming talent.

Branch out from just music     

Whilst music is key for a music streaming company, insight and feedback have clearly demonstrated that broader audio content can also create the opportunity for generating new users, providing additional value to existing users and growing the business.

Creating rich, original audio content that taps into people’s personal interests, such as podcasts and live sports commentary, is paving the way for new audience engagement. With 4.7 million adults in the UK and roughly 57 million people listening to podcasts in the US, there is certainly appeal in the ability for users to seamlessly continue their listening journey from enjoying their favourite music tracks to tuning into the most-talked-about political podcast.

The key to success

For emerging companies already breaking through the market, you must continuously be seen to be not only keeping up the pace but evolving your offering so that you can retain that competitive advantage and meet the needs of the user.

Again, this involves hiring the right people, creating personalised and relevant content and ensuring that you have a robust business model and a clear vision that enables growth and continued success.