In just a few days time, the music tech industry said goodbye to three music streaming subscription platforms: Beats Music, Rdio and Zune. Apple announced it’s shutting down Beats Music, Rdio announced it will be closing its doors and filing for bankruptcy and Microsoft announced that it’s pulling down Zune.

Several industry professional were predicting the end of Beats Music even before the launch of Apple Music, assuming that Apple was building a foundation to compete with Spotify. Apple purchased Beats Music for $3 billion a year and a half ago and kept it around, as Esquire put it, until it could lose its music streaming training wheels. The Beats Music announcement came just a few days after the release of the Apple Music app for Android. Beats Music only had around 300,000 subscribers while Apple Music bragged it had more than 6.5 million sign up for paid membership, which is still only a third of Spotify’s paying user base.

Microsoft is transferring memberships from the streaming platform and Mp3 marketplace Zune Music over to its newer, 3-year-old service Groove Music Pass, which maintains a catalog of over 38 million songs. Zune was initially launched as an Mp3 player to compete with Apple’s iPod in 2006, but the service quickly began to downward spiral as it tried to adapt to the streaming era.

Many music streaming fans are unaware of the fact that Rdio was actually the first streaming platform to arrive in the United States when it launched in August 2010. While the platform was responsible for introducing social features like album recommendations based on friends' listens, Rdio's marketing and distribution couldn't keep up with its innovation, as The Verge points out. When Rdio announced it's departure, Pandora announced that it acquired Rdio's intellectual property and some of its employees in a $75 million deal. Following last month's larger Ticketfly acquisition, Pandora hopes to use these new assets to grow its international markets.

So what does this mean? Competition is shrinking but the streaming platform bar is moving ever-higher, pushing platforms to focus on innovation and tech advancements. The real questions are will Pandora be able to expand beyond an internet radio service to compete with other streaming platforms and will Apple Music catch up to Spotify?

Sources: NewsWeek, Esquire, Herald Recorder, TheVerge, Billboard

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Jamie Lamberski Senior Editor

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