There’s an uneasy tension in the digital music marketplace. Rumblings of unrest with streaming services such as Spotify, new platforms emerging empowering the people that matter i.e the artists and fans, CD sales plummeting and piracy (both in execution and attempted control) still a major issue.
Perhaps a tentative pointer to the future of the industry was the RIAA announcement that sales were on the up for the first time in over a decade. As ever the devil is in the detail.
Digital sales were up by 25% at 1.1 billion dollars while (more worryingly) subscription services were up 13% to $241 million.
The perplexing battle for control between the heavyweight music industry platforms (such as Spotify) and the more ethical services offering fairer accounting models is at the crux of the issue.
Ultimately, both models may survive but it is highly likely that useability, early technology adoption and development may prove more important than artist rosters. Getting a ‘deal’ is increasingly being seen as ridiculous and crass.
While stopping short of becoming an out and out revolution the situation does bear some resemblance to year zero when punk battled with the bloated industry and came out the other side semi-victorious having altered the landscape irrevocably.
2012 will be an interesting year, a veritable gold rush for developers, muso’s, hacks, pimps and thieves. The fittest and most intelligent will survive unless battered into submission by the old guard. Blood may well be spilled.