New Music Seminar Discusses Streaming and Music Business Future
Where in the heck is the music business going next? That's the question everyone from top industry executives to millions of fans are asking. It is quite clear the direction is constantly changing, but what exactly can be expected in the next few years?
Music business leaders from around the world congregated at the 2015 New Music Seminar to discuss just that. All seem to be in agreement that the power of streaming sites such as Spotify, Pandora, and soon to be released Apple Music have quite the stake in how music is consumed and experienced today. Fans are no longer urged to purchase albums rather subscriptions to interfaces which allow access to insurmountable music libraries. The end of days where you reveled over your own meticulous music collection is nearing. Now it is much more attractive to virtually listen to someone else’s, all with a few swipes and a tap on your smartphone.
But what does this mean for the industry?
Russ Crupnick, Managing Partner of MusicWatch says that increasing streaming traffic is the key to the progression of the music business. In a session titled “Music Insights 20/20: The Future Revealed” Crupnick reports there are almost 50 million people in the US buying CDs, while only 37 million are using streaming services to listen to music.
“As an industry we have a really short attention span… we are so focused on where music is going next we forget about the 50 million who are buying CDs. Getting those CD buyers is really important. Most of the people who bought CDs haven’t transitioned into digital purchases.”
Crupnick proposes obtaining those stuck-in-their-ways CDs boppers will become easier with the increasing accessibility of streaming services going hand in hand with mobile devices and one day soon even actual cars. Turning streaming into the new music experience is a beneficial tactic for the music industry. However, Crupnick says it is also imperative for the industry to tailor their marketing towards “fan behavior,” such is purchasing music, and streaming subscriptions not just free music-surfing.
"The future will be less about money, and more about time and attention. Raising advertising, and raising the number of subscribers to paid versions of streaming.” He says
Spotify Director of Economics Will Page also seemed to agree that the growth of the music business can happen simultaneously with the growth of streaming. Yet in order to grow the paying streaming population, platforms like Spofity have to become more innovative and make their premium service just that more sexy. And they recently have done just that.
Page discussed Spotify’s new features which include Spotify Running, The Now start page, and even video clips and podcasts… available of course if you pay $9.99 a month. Although their “listen free” option has rustled some feathers Spotify continues to widen the gap between the features offered on their free and paid plans, stretching the consumer to finally give in and enjoy Spotify they way it should be.
But in addition to competing against their own free service for paying customers, sites like Spotify also have a handful of competition now including Apple Music, to be released June 30th. How does that effect the pool of consumers everyone is trying to reel in? Jim Lidestri, CEO Border City Media says Apple Music could indeed widen the customer base for all streaming sites.
“What might happen is all the services will go up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spotify will go up, I think it will really validate that market.”
Alex White, CEO of Next Big Sound (acquired by Pandora) concurred saying: "Apple music will lead thousands of people who haven’t thought about streaming to understanding and talking about it.”
The more attention turned to streaming sites could very well raise the consumer base in this day and age, and hopefully even put money back into the industry. But for now, it seems like a game of ‘hurry up and wait’ as streaming develops as an industry of its own. One thing is clear however, streaming seems to be here to stay (at least for the next few years)… whether you like it or not.