Streaming is organically increasing. When I first wrote The Music Industry, an infinite journey way back in early 2014 I concluded the study with the chapter titled The Future, which determined how the industry would be by 2020. One section in that article covered Streaming vs Downloads, the War is open. In fact, for most people it was still unclear that streaming was going to take over from downloads – let alone physical sales. Half-way between 2014 and 2020, there is no doubt anymore about streaming dominating the industry. Plenty of questions remain though.
We are used to stating raw facts, but it is rare that we understand their meaning. Streaming took over from downloads and tons of publications mentioned it, ok. So what? If a $15 billion industry moves from one format to another should we assume that this change of format is the only real novelty? The truth is obviously much different. There are many impacts, direct or indirect. Your favorite artist may start to flop while they were successful before, and that would have nothing to do with him being urban or not. Albums won’t be released at the same date anymore. Albums won’t be in the same format anymore. We aren’t even sure if there will be albums anymore. Your country may not matter soon or, quite possibly become relevant. Marketers won’t promote artists in the same way and they won’t promote the same artists either. You won’t give the same Christmas present to your mother. Your mother will likely start to know of the artists you listen to. Yes, the impact with the arrival of streaming is that deep.
First, it is changing the industry itself, completely redistributing the cards of the game between various markets. Second, it will require from its actors, both the labels and the artists, to fully revamp their way of working. Third, it will change your way of acting.
It is time to precisely detail all the ongoing and upcoming changes. Here is the beginning of 3 articles that will tell you exactly how the market, its actors and yourself, will evolve in the near future due to the enthronement of streaming consumption.
This first article covers the industry point of view. A lot of things have been said about streaming. People quickly started to rant against it saying platforms weren’t paying artists enough, or that it was an another much hyped fad. At some point, it was truly demonized by some – hi, Miss Swift – although now you won’t hear someone complain about it anymore. So at the end of the day, now that we have more indicators to fully understand its impact, is streaming a good or bad thing for the music industry? How is the business reacting? How will it go during the next few years? What will it change for each country? When streaming reaches its full potential will the industry be effectively dead, or will there be Thriller-esque albums released at a fast pace?