If you have not been following the digital music news, there are major forces churning beneath the surface that will likely lead to some significant changes and announcements related to the emerging marketplace for recorded music.
We've gathered up several headlines of the past 15 months to get you up to speed. Many in the world music scene feel that the larger industry is out of their control or does not apply to the Island of Esoterica. But when we hosted a record label panel at the annual Performing Arts Center gathering APAP, Cumbancha's Jacob Edgar and A2IM president Rich Bengloff got into a heated discussion about whether or not "music discovery" companies like Pandora are serving the world music market and fanbase adequately. The debate shows just how much world music is part of the whole, and how world music might have a serious role to play, as the market changes.
By understanding the shifts taking place, we as a field can brainstorm and advocate how the emerging marketplace can better serve the discovery and economic viability of global sounds. Read up on this emerging news below and stay tuned for “Plate Tectonics 2,” where we propose actions we can all take.
January 2012: Digital Sales Exceed Physical Sales for First Time. As the iPod turned ten years old, digital sales reached 50.3% of the US sales of recorded music. More here.
June 2012: Pandora Lobbies for Lower Rates. The public starts hearing that Pandora is lobbying for lower royalty rates for Internet radio. CEO Tim Westergren points out to Congress that different types of services pay different amounts based on when certain laws were enacted. While artists and labels complain that streaming services pay fractions of cents that are hard to track, streaming services want to lower rates. More here.
July 2012: Beats Acquires MOG. Beats Electronics buys MOG music subscription service and plans to re-launch it under the name Daisy. This acquisition of a streaming music service by an electronics manufacturer shows that Apple is not the only one that can use a physical product to to get into the digital music game. Beats headphones are cool and spreading with youth in a similar way that iPods did earlier. More here.
February 2013: Recording Sales Worldwide Were Up in 2012 for the First Time Since 1999. Sales were up a mere .3%, but that may mean that the music industry hit its bottom in 2011. Download sales grew 12% in 2012. More here.
February 2013: Spotify Seeks Lower Rates. Even though it has 5 million paying subscribers worldwide, Spotify says that they can barely make a profit and now they too want to pay lower licensing rates. More here.
March 2013: Rumors and Reports that Amazon, Google, Samsung, and iTunes Plan Subscription Services. The first quarter of 2013 has seen numerous reports that the giants of tech may take on Spotify in a more direct way. One op-ed says this is "the greatest trick the Majors have ever pulled off" by increasing competition when current players int he subscription market are lobbying for lower licensing rates. Read more.
March 2013: Guess What? So is Twitter. Twitter is reported to be launching their own standalone iPhone music app where users of Twitter Music will get music recommendations from their Twitter network. Read more.
March 2013: Spotify Rumored to Move into Video Streaming Like Netflix. Is the price of high licensing rates and lots of competition for music subscription scaring Spotify into pivoting into another market? Read more.
Need a tech-savvy advocate to help support your release, tour, or other music or performance-related project on the shifting U.S./Canadian music market? Get in touch; we'd love to talk.