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Armin Van Buuren: Give music streaming a chance

This electronic music pioneer talks about the future of the business

Superstar DJ and producer Armin Van Buuren believes there is great potential in music streaming services despite the music industry's protests over inadequate compensation for artists' work.

Speaking to CNBC's "Capital Connection ", Van Buuren, who is in Singapore as the keynote speaker for the International Music Summit, said "I think there's a really bright future on the horizon with streaming."

The DJ also owns the Amsterdam-based record label Armada Music and is one of the select few electronic dance music (EDM) artists to have received a prestigious Grammy nomination.

In the electronic music space, he said fans no longer want to simply own music. Instead, they want to have access to music whenever they want, which is where the potential of music streaming services lie.

"In the past, when I sold a CD, somebody could play it once or a hundred times," Van Buuren said. "But right now, with Spotify, I get paid per stream. Right now it's not that much yet, but streaming services have only just begun."

Van Buuren has over 1.4 million followers on Spotify.

The Swedish-based music streaming service, which has over 75 million active users and over 20 million paid subscribers, was in the spotlight last summer after singer Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog from the platform. Adele, whose new album, "25," has already sold over 5 million copies, has decided to not offer the album on the site - even though her back catalog is available.

Swift's main criticism was that the company wasn't paying enough to artists for their work to appear on the platform. Artists who put their work on Spotify are required to make their music available to all of its users - both premium subscribers and free users.

In November last year, Daniel Ek, CEO and founder at Spotify, wrote a blog in response to Swift's criticisms. He claimed the company has paid "more than $2 billion to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists."

Tim Mosenfelder | Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the streaming service might be caving in to lure back the likes of Swift to the platform. The report, citing people familiar with the matter, said executives are considering making some content exclusively available to their subscribers who pay $10 a month while withholding it from their free users.

Van Buuren agreed that music, like everything in life, should not be free and that artists should be rightfully compensated. "If you want something nice in life, sometimes you have to pay a little bit for it."

But he added that free streaming does not mean artists do not get paid - the revenue comes from advertising.

His own company, Armada Music, makes a bulk of its revenue from streaming services. In 2003, when the company started, 60 percent of its turnover came from vinyl sales. "Fast forward 13 years later, and 60 percent of our turnover is streaming services," he said.

"That shows you how big the shift of the market has been."

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