It appears that in spite of best efforts by the music industry to push CD sales and legal download, not enough revenue is being generated to sustain people of particular interest to the recorded music industry. These are the music publishers, the rights owners, and the companies offering downloads. Because of the prevailing situation, companies like Apple and Amazon are pushing for a cloud-based alternative to digital music services. All indications point to the inclination of consumers towards access over download. This simply means that music lovers will more and more prefer to stream their desired songs rather than to physically own records and albums.
Subscription to mobile music streaming services is expected to become mainstream by the year 2016. This forecast if realized, spells positive developments for consumers as well as the mobile music streaming providers and the middle men in the business. Musical artists will have the advantage of unlimited access to various options for product distribution although there are serious concerns about the income-generating capability of selling recorded music.
In a survey conducted in September 2011, streaming music online for free and downloading digital music files for free have percentage shares akin to current mainstream activities including buying physical copies of CD or vinyl and purchasing music files online. The same survey shows that a very small number of consumers would pay to stream music online. Industry observers are almost in complete agreement that digital music consumers will travel the same path as that of online social gamers where only a few opted to pay for the privilege of getting premium service and many settle for less as long as there are no monetary considerations involved.
The increasing usage when music and service is offered for free is observed universally. This is the reason why internet service providers and electronic device manufacturers are scrambling to bundle music access into their offered packages. Concerns about audio quality take a backseat for now to instant access.