If you work in the music industry, 2013 is a confusing time. While it's obvious that all the old rules are changing, the new rules aren't exactly straightforward. There are copyright issues, the constantly evolving digital world, and wealthy labels with a lot of power and control and not a whole lot of direction. And then there's streaming.
In the past, things were a little more simple. Once the recording process took off, recorded music was a product, and an entire industry was built around it. From records to tapes to CDs, money was spent for a physical product, and it worked just fine. The problem is, what we wanted was never the CD, or the tape, or the record. The industry did a great job of making these physical things feel like an important piece of the product, but what fans really wanted was the sound. The music. It may take decades for physical manifestations of music as a product to disappear, but things are moving in that direction. With the success of streaming, it's becoming apparent that music as a physical product is on its way to becoming obsolete.
For now, the business model is unsustainable, the way to deliver streaming services to a massive audience is still being figured out, and there is still a large portion of the population who enjoy stuff like putting a needle on a record or ripping open that plastic wrapped around a CD case. But if you look at the facts, it's pretty clear: streaming music is the future.