Published: 22nd Jun 2016
Music is one of the few constants in life. Throughout history, people have enjoyed listening to music in some form or another and that shows no sign of changing in the age of the internet.
Indeed, the web is actually having a significant impact on the music industry, shaping the way we buy and listen to our favourite songs and albums. This means it's vital for music lovers to have a good broadband connection if they are to keep up to date with the latest releases or simply listen to their all-time favourite tunes.
The days of heading down to a local shop and paying for a CD, let alone a cassette or vinyl record, are fast becoming little more than a distant memory. Downloading is now the easiest way to buy music and more and more of us are adding to our collections this way.
Figures from the Official Charts Company show well over a billion songs have been downloaded since the launch of the Official Download Chart in 2004 and British Phonographic Industry statistics have revealed 32.6 million albums were downloaded in the UK over the course of 2013.
It's clear that downloading is an immensely popular way of listening to music, but it is facing competition from streaming. Spotify recently announced it has ten million paying subscribers across the world and when combined with people who use the service for free, this takes its total customer base to more than 40 million.
The growing prominence of streaming is highlighted by the fact Apple has recently acquired Beats Electronics in a multi-billion-dollar deal. It is widely thought the acquisition is a result of the tech giant's ambitions to increase its presence in the streaming market.
Listening to the radio may seem like a more traditional pursuit for music lovers, but the internet is actually playing a big role here too. It's now possible to listen to virtually every radio station online and some are broadcast exclusively over the web.
Listening to the radio online is clearly popular, as in March BBC iPlayer received 72 million listening requests for its radio programmes - an increase of seven per cent on the month before. 5 Live's coverage of the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Manchester City was the most popular show, attracting close to 300,000 listeners.
Another way music lovers can make use of their broadband connection is by booking tickets for concerts. This is the easiest way for people to get their hands on tickets, especially when they are in high demand and are likely to sell out very quickly. Recent research from Barclaycard and IRMG revealed online spending on concert and theatre tickets doubled in 2013.
For people who can't make it to a concert, the internet is pretty much the next best thing. Websites like YouTube are full of recordings of entire gigs, while major events such as the Glastonbury Festival are often streamed live.
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