Where do people place value in music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, if not on the music itself?

Psychological Ownership in the Post-Ownership Music Industry

Since the mass adoption of music streaming services (e.g., Spotify and Apple Music), I believe there has been an interesting switch in peoples perception of owing music. The article, "Psychological ownership and music streaming consumption", discusses the concept of psychological ownership and how streaming services are trending away from the consumers' old desires to own music and entering the "post-ownership' economy" (Sinclair & Tinson). Most people use music as a part of their day-to-day routines and more importantly as a means of self-expression and identity. The article discusses that some consumers of physical media would even form a connection between the unique characteristics of their media, termed “key antecedent” (Sinclair & Tinson). This deep connection would not be made possible with digital and shared media found in streaming services. However, this group of consumers is most likely a small subset, but an interesting one. One part of the article that I do agree with is, "From a marketing perspective an enhanced sense of psychological ownership will lead to long-term loyalty, greater word-of-mouth, customer empowerment, feelings of satisfaction, and the increased likelihood of engaging in behaviors that protect and improve the ‘object’ of ownership" (Sinclair & Tinson). This greater connection will also lead to an increase in how much one will pay and engage with a product. When looking back at my music consumption and connections made with particular songs in the pre and post streaming economies I do think I made deeper relationships and discovering music may have even been a bit more rewarding in the post-streaming world. Overall I see streaming services as a good improvement, but they have changed the landscape of the music industry.

Moreover, in some ways streaming platforms have shifted the psychological ownership from the songs and albums to the streaming platforms themselves, with consumers becoming deeply connected to the services, almost locked in. Consumers are tied into the social aspect of services like Spotify that offer users social capital for sharing music playlist and listening history (Sinclair & Tinson). Music streaming services provide a new and convenient way to listen to music and share it with friends that have not been possible before, but does loose some of the psychological ownership that physical media offered.


Gary, S., & Julie, T. (2017). Psychological ownership and music streaming consumption. In (Vol. 71, pp. 1-9). Journal of Business Research.