Microsoft is closing the virtual doors on its music service, Groove Music. The decision will not leave users high and dry, users will have access to the service until December 31st. Users who have purchased and downloaded content will be able to continue to use that content, Microsoft promised. Microsoft is also providing an alternative for users, the ability to transfer to Spotify. They will be releasing a new version of the Groove Player that will allow users to transfer over to Spotify. In addition to the transfer tools, Microsoft is throwing in 60 day of Spotify premium for Groove Music users.
The struggle is real
This news comes as no shock to us. Nobody will fault you if you have never heard of, or forgot about the Groove Music service. Gizmodo (who also apparently forgot about it), predicted this outcome back in March of this year. Microsoft, like so many other companies, wanted a piece of the revenue from music streaming. By bundling it in with Windows, presumably, they figured users would gravitate toward it. Despite these efforts, the service has struggled to compete with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play.
Groove Music is not the first to fold
Groove Music joins a long list of services that attempted to enter a crowded market. Many of these companies had minor successes, but, in the end, they couldn’t compete. Brands like Beats Music, Songza, RDIO, and the Last.fm streaming service came and went. These services live on, at least in part, under new ownership. Beats went to Apple, Songza to Google, RDIO to Pandora. Last.fm still exists, but only the part that logs what you listen to. Then there are the services that are still kicking around like Napster and SoundCloud. Napster will probably be hanging around for a bit, but, is really just a small blip on the radar. SoundCloud has had an especially rough run this year, but they received some investment back in August. Good news for the beloved service, known for making indie artists into international stars. That aside, they still have a rough road ahead.
The future of streaming music
While Spotify has everyone beat, even if you combine the numbers of the top 3 services, you don’t even get close. With 140 million subscribers they are the king. Despite its massive user base, however, Spotify still struggles to attain profitability. For 2016, Spotify posted losses of $531 Billion, as reported by Billboard. While not as rough as SoundCloud’s year, still not great either. There are also other contenders to consider, notably, Apple Music, Google’s Play Music, and Amazon’s Prime Music. They have fairly decent user bases, come bundled into iPhone and Android respectively, and have the backing of massive companies. Amazon bundled the service into its kindle fire, but, more importantly, bundled it into its Prime offering.
There is no doubt that, despite the struggles facing these companies, streaming music is here to stay. There is room out there for more than one platform, but the competition is fierce. Some argue that with each company that folds, consumer choice suffers. In actuality, the consumer is making their choices pretty clear. The question now is, which services will be the survivors, and which, like Groove, will fade out to nothingness.