The UK broadband scene is a battle of the fast versus the slow and has been behind the demise of the high street video rental store and a good many record shops too. The last couple of years has seen both subscription based and free music streaming services take off in a large way, with the potential to be as disruptive to the commercial radio station scene as online news has been to the local newspaper industry.
On 23rd June it was announced that The Official Charts are to count plays of tracks from audio streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster and others and when you consider that while Daft Punk's Get Lucky single in 2013 was the first to pass the 1 million streams in a week mark and that in 2014 so far nine tracks have surpassed that level, you get an idea of the amount of music streaming going on in the UK.
Step forward a wave of bodies and people saying superfast broadband is needed for audio streaming and how the UK is too slow for it to be popular e.g. Jacob Herbst, Director of Digital Sales & Business Development for Sony Music in Sweden talking to BBC Newsbeat, unfortunately Jacob does not appear to have watched the Sony E3 presentation or ready the interview with SCEE's UK managing director Fergal Gara on DigitalSpy where the streaming game service for the PS4 PlayStation Now will be coming to the UK as one of the first European countries to get the service in part because it "it has a very strong gaming market and secondly the broadband infrastructure is up there with the best in Europe, or in the top end".
Audio streaming may require a relatively constant stream of data, but unlike live audio/video streams you can buffer a few seconds and even the highest bitrates of 320 Kilo bits per second should not stress any connection that is faster than 0.7 Mbps. Obviously on a slow line if someone else is playing video then the packets will end up battling it out. For those with usage allowances, particularly mobile phone users a high end audio stream will use 144 MB per hour, but most audio streams use around half that amount of data per hour. Looking at the data pattern of Spotify on a mobile phone the data use is very spiky, i.e. it downloads as much of the song as possible and plays it from a buffer, which should help if on a busy connection as during the gaps of others it will grab a large chunk of data.