The global recorded music market grew by 5.9 percent last year. It was the fastest rate of growth since 1997 and was as a result of the shift from traditional CDs and portable devices to the ability to stream content anywhere, at any time.

Yet despite an estimated 498 online music streaming services available in over 40 countries in 2007, many of these companies cease to exist today. This emphasizes the importance of building a clear growth strategy that can continuously appeal to a demographic that is yearning for instant and tailored music on demand.

Personalization of Music

Today, brands across the globe are continually searching for fresh ways to connect and resonate with their audiences while striving to stand out from the competition in order to grow their business. This also applies to the music industry.

But the streaming business model must also take into consideration the additional layers of complexity from other players involved in the process — such as artists and record labels — that are simultaneously pushing their music through the platform. As a result, music streaming platforms need to delve further into the consciousness of a user by trying to uncover their likes and dislikes, often before the user has even realized it themselves.

Innovation in technology like machine learning is one way this level of personalization is being achieved through a clever combination of proprietary algorithms and real-time analytics. In some cases, human curation is also involved. These three factors mean that streaming companies can more accurately understand, recommend or avoid music that’s based not just on the user’s listening habits, but on individual tracks a user would genuinely identify as something they like or dislike.

The level of detailed personalization involved means that music companies are able to engage with their customers on a one-to-one level, rather than just pushing out content that the mainstream population may enjoy, irrespective of preferences around certain musical niches or genres. But this is by no means an easy feat, as music services need to continuously invest in the technology required to deliver the right content to ensure ongoing relevance and customer loyalty.

More Than Just Music

In 2017, more than 100 million people are paying for music every month. The appeal lays not just in being able to access music from multiple devices both in and out of the home, but also in having access to a full library rather than paying for every individual piece of content. Bespoke price points for different audiences are key when considering demographics, income variations, payment models and personal preferences.

Having said all of this, the real draw for consumers — and a key factor that will often affect their purchasing decision — is the ability to access original, diverse content. Streaming services recognize that it’s no longer just about having, sharing or hosting content, but also about providing a variety of different, original content that targets individual and group needs and interests.  

With 4.7 million adults in the U.K. listening to podcasts, there is certainly appeal in the ability for users to seamlessly continue their listening journey, from enjoying their favorite music tracks to tuning into the most-talked-about podcasts. This thirst for diversity, in turn, is paving the way for a new level of audience engagement — especially with a huge 79 percent of users listening to podcasts immediately after downloading and 55 percent listening to podcasts within 24 hours of downloading.

Localisation and Global Music Tastes

When rolling out original content, localization is especially fundamental. In France, Germany and the U.K., politics and humor are genres of particular interest, as these three regions have all held elections over the summer.

By creating podcast content across all three territories in local languages, with themes common to audiences across multiple territories, the content can best reflect and speak to the audiences within these areas. And as every region has different tastes and preferences, it is this diversity in music and content that can really set one company apart from the next and drive increased customer loyalty.

For music streaming companies that are looking to grow — despite the tough competition — a balanced combination of localized, personalized and original content can ensure businesses create a point of differentiation from other services while tailoring the unique needs of a diverse customer base.

Golan Shaked is the Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer at music streaming service Deezer, which has 12 million users across 185 countries.