The reason the music publishing industry is in the toilet is because of the Internet. People no longer need to pirate music to get it for free; they can just stream it online through subscription services like Spotify (News - Alert). Other apps that feature similar instant-listening functions include Rdio and Rhapsody, but Spotify, a Stockholm based company with 24 million users, is hands down the leader of the pack. Amazon may be changing that – unless Apple and Google (News - Alert) change it first.
Amazon, the Web's biggest retailer, is in talks with various music companies about launching its own online listening subscription service. As of now there are no concrete details, and the discussions that are taking place are still low-key and informal.
It seems like the Web giant has to get in on the game, as frankly, there's no reason for it not to. Amazon already has much of the infrastructure required to offer a subscription music service including cloud music storage and its Cloud player, which enables users to stream tunes from Amazon's servers. Moreover, if the company wants to stay dominant in a Google and Apple (News - Alert) world it will have to roll out such a service. Google is keen on developing a subscription music offering for both YouTube and Google Play, and Apple is reportedly in negotiations to debut its own Web radio service.
The question is less of what Amazon will do to compete in the category, but instead can Amazon beat Apple and Google to the punch? Probably all three top dogs will unveil subscription music services. If that is the case, how will each company differentiate its offerings? Would any of them be able to dethrone the mighty king, Spotify?
Edited by Brooke Neuman