Picture this blast from the past: It’s 2008 and you just purchased Lady Gaga’s brand new single, “Just Dance,” from the iTunes Store for $0.99. 

Now that it’s on your iPod, you can listen to it on the go any time you want as many times as you want. Goodbye, archaic Walkman. Buh bye, prehistoric eight-track.

The feeling is euphoric, being able to blast your favorite ear candy on your own terms.

Now, flash forward to present day. 

It’s 2019, and the way we consume music is completely different, thanks to on-demand music streaming services.

Music platforms have evolved

That 2008 iPod moment was artist-centric. Ten years ago, when you purchased a specific album or song to add to your library, you were much more likely to listen to it over and over again. You paid good money for “Womanizer” by Britney Spears, thankyouverymuch. 

Today, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Instead of purchasing a song or album, fans subscribe to on-demand streaming services, which provide much more bang for their buck. Consumers are no longer limited to a specific artist; instead, streaming services provide a universe of existing and ever-emerging new artists. 

Consumers aren’t the only ones who are adapting, as artists themselves are, too. Many are spreading out the release of their projects to build up a following and keep listeners engaged.

For example, pop artist Kim Petras kicked off her discography by releasing 11 singles over the course of three years: 

“I would drop a new song a month, especially with streaming and staying on top of people’s minds and getting playlisted,” she recently told Billboard

She took that strategy one step further for the release of her studio album, “Clarity,” which she dropped in June of this year, telling Billboard, “… This time, I was just like, ‘Let’s pick up the speed and do it weekly, and then kind of stay on top of people’s minds all of the time.’”

Attention spans are…

Rivaling that of a goldfish, the average human’s attention span is actually evolving. With so much music to choose from, we’re forced to weed through the “noise” and be truly selective in what we give our ears to. 

To deal with this selective listening, some artists are shortening the length of their songs in an effort to engage with listeners. Nothing against “Freebird,” but remember those shortened attention spans?

A report from Quartz showed that from 2013 to 2018, songs on the Billboard Hot 100 decreased by 20 seconds on average. It’s possible that this trend encourages listeners to hear an entire song, rather than hitting the dreaded “skip” button.

There’s also the belief that shorter songs are becoming trendy because of the overload consumers face–meaning songs need to be instantly catchy in order to stand out. And artists who grab listeners by introducing the chorus within the first 30 seconds have a better chance of keeping their attention.

Collaborations are hot

Artist collaborations are on the rise, and are a great way to keep listeners engaged. Collaboration projects bring two or more artist’s followings together, meaning exposure (and possible new fans) for all involved.

Ed Sheeran’s new album, “No. 6 Collaborations Project,” features at least one collaborator on each of its 15 tracks. 

Is it any coincidence that he just broke Spotify’s all-time global streaming record with 69 million monthly listeners? Maybe. But, according to the Economist, “collaborations now represent more than a third of hit songs” on the Billboard Hot 100

It makes sense then that Sheeran’s collaboration album became the fastest-selling album of the year (so far).

And despite our many differences, what can most music lovers agree with?

Everyone loves an engaging story.

Earlier this month, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, became the longest-running No. 1 single in Billboard Hot 100 history, with an unprecedented 17 weeks at the top of the chart.

If there was ever a song with a good story behind it, “Old Town Road” is it. The fact that a new artist jumped to the lead of the pack with a song that uses a backing track he purchased online for a mere $30 is nothing short of amazing.

There’s no doubt that streaming has changed the way fans consume music today. With so many platforms and new artists constantly emerging, fans are never at a loss for new music.

And that’s where we come in. 

FanLabel is more than just an app with fantasy-sports style contests; it’s also an excellent means of music discovery. We pride ourselves on bringing new songs from popular and rising artists to music lovers all over the world.

Be sure to keep up with the FanLabel blog for more insights into the music industry, and download the FanLabel app, available on the App Store and Google Play, today!