Ten dollars per user per month is simply too expensive for streaming music, and the labels know it. Today's announcement that Spotify has dropped their family pricing to match Apple Music's $15 per month for up to six users is yet more evidence that the music industry is continuing to march towards this reality.
Back in October I suggested that the industry was on a carefully-scripted path to get us to the perfect-per-user price of $3-$5 per month. Apple's $15 per month family pricing was an early step down this path. Apple couldn't do this without the blessing of the labels, and the labels – or at least some of them – each own a chunk of Spotify. By allowing Apple to do this first, the labels had the opportunity to float a trial balloon that remained at arms length.
Seems that trial succeeded, and now the labels feel comfortable bringing that pricing closer to home.
I think there's another trial balloon being floated: Apple Music recently announced student pricing of $4.99 per user per month. My guess is that those students will never see their prices raised. Instead they'll be grandfathered in, perhaps as "students of life." But really I think that by the time those students matriculate out of whatever educational institutions they're in the regular user pricing will match theirs.
I love conspiracy theories, but this is one that I can both emotionally and intellectually support. Can you? Let us know in the comments.