It looks like some of Taylor Swift's music will be available for streaming after all, but not on Spotify, from which she decided to pull all of her music last year. Spotify is free to use on personal computers. You can stream any music you want on it, but you have to listen to short commercials if you don't pay. "I just don't agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free", Swift said last year. So, from her point of view, making listeners actively pay some money to listen is a critical component of an acceptable model. Advertisers' money doesn't count. Other artists hold the opinion that Spotify's royalties aren't good enough. They're $0.006 - $0.0084 per stream, so I can sympathize.
As it is in e-commerce as a whole, streaming music is experiencing the arrival of market disruptors. The most newsworthy have been high quality sound devices and software. The lowest-quality recordings that are commonly listened to are the free streams of services like Spotify, Pandora and Slacker. Next is MP3 audio from iTunes and other retailers, which is slightly better in terms of sound quality. Good old CDs have about twice the fidelity of MP3s. At the top end of sound quality, you have Neil Young's Pono Music Player. Neil boasts sound of a quality that is several time higher than CDs, but you have to carry a device around to play it, iPod style. You can't even experience the greatness of the audio without high-quality headphones or speakers, some say. The newest entrant into the arena is Tidal, a company that's offering CD-quality streaming music that you can access from an app or browser.
Tidal was created by Aspiro, a business that was recently purchased by Jay Z. Tidal costs users $20 per month, more than twice what you'd pay for a premium Spotify subscription with no ads. Another downside is that you can't really get the best sound if you don't use decent hardware. There are currently twenty five million songs and seventy five thousand music videos available from Tidal. You can stream all of T. Swift's albums, except for 1989, and you get music videos. That's a strong answer to Spotify's lyrics feature. Streaming music has started to edge out CD sales, so don't be surprised if "HOVA" calls some shots in relation to the future of the music industry.