Streaming service Spotify grew its Premium membership subscribers to 43m in 2016, according to data released by Midia. Along with Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music, the music streaming services boasted a combined 100m paying users at the end of last year.

Streaming has led to a revolutionary transformation, not only in music consumption, but in discovery. The industry has had to evolve at an unprecedented rate to keep up with the rapidly developing technology and shifts in consumer behaviour.

Many of the issues faced by the music industry are now seen across the consumer landscape, and across industries, with purchase journeys more fragmented than ever. Consumers now expect to be able to seamlessly follow a brand between platforms and across devices, in a way tailored to their personal preferences.

Artificial Intelligence has been revolutionary for companies like Spotify who have built hugely successful predictive algorithms to transform the way people discover music tailored to their use. Having learnt the hard way, music industry leaders are now successfully future-proofing their business by developing data models at the outset that can be exploited further down the line.

Techstars Music, a new startup accelerator program launched by the global community TechStars (, created to invest in the broad ecosystem of music joined forces with major record labels and artists to invest in what they believed to be the most promising startups in music. What they saw was that more than half of the 11 start-ups they worked with, focused on AI as a key part of their proposition.

Other more adept companies are also developing robust AI programmes to learn how to fully exploit their products. This will allow businesses to drive sales in the short term, and to build new markets by developing highly nuanced content and adaptive distribution channels.

Increasing quantities of first party data and audience insights, fragmented purchase journeys and ever-evolving consumption habits are disrupting most sectors, but none more so than the music industry.
So, expect further investment in AI, data-heavy advertising campaigns and intuitive algorithms to continue to give those in the music industry a competitive edge – and expect other industries to start listening in too.