Even though users of streaming services are not necessarily buying more music, the industry benefits by learning more about fans’ tastes. Steve Purdham, CEO and founder of We7, a music streaming service and download store, said: “They may not buy an album, though they have that opportunity, but you can sell them tour tickets and a T-shirt of their favourite band.”
Free plays in the browser are worth more to a band than free plays via a filesharing network that get played back in an MP3 player.
That’s an incentive for bands to make their own song pages rather than waiting for music bloggers and other third parties.
About the original story, my wild guess is that it’s a case of listeners following convenience. People will listen to their second choice before their first choice if it’s easier to access.