Apple’s Solution to the Future of Music: Stream, then Buy
I think that subscription and free online radio services have the best chance of saving the artist of being robbed of their royalties. Most of these services have to pay record labels for the rights to even play a song, so they take most of the initial hit. The listeners have the easiest job here – they have instant access to their music on any sort of device, wherever they may be. The radio has been taken far beyond just something you do when you listen in the car; you are actively engaged in the listening process. Another factor that will ultimately help the artist is the ability to buy steaming songs the minute you hear it. This requires no searching or browsing for a song, and it can be done in a couple of clicks.
Pandora already has the option of purchasing a song using the buy button located in the corner of each song avatar. Apple will likely see a boost in the iTunes store sales when they implement a buy feature in their new streaming radio service. Their iTunes radio is sure to be a hit if it is anything like Pandora, and we already know how many users are mated with their iPhones for life.