Why the streaming revolution is unfinished business

The following MBW article/editorial comes from Kim Bayley, CEO of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), a trade body in the United Kingdom representing the interests of both digital and physical retailers and streaming services.


It is a fact that revolutions happen both slower and faster than anyone ever expected.

At a time when a revolutionary new technology emerges, pioneers who can see the future understandably lose patience for the future to come. Time seemed to drag on as they waited for what they considered inevitable to pass.

And then one day we all turned our heads and backs and the extent of the revolution hit us like a brick wall.

That is how I feel when I read the proofs of the latest edition of the ERA Proceedings to be published tomorrow (March 1).

We all know that the impact of streaming will be revolutionary. We can all guess it will changes everything. But none of us could have guessed this.

Last year, music fans in the UK listened to more than 159 billion streams. That’s almost five days of listening from every man, woman or child in this country. And streaming services have brought about a miracle that few would have thought possible just a few years ago.

Just think:

  • All the music in the world – tens of millions of tracks – available in the palm of your hand whenever and wherever you want 24/7;
  • Massive music democratization and great creativity with 60,000 new tracks every day uploaded to streaming platforms;
  • The music industry returns to growth – eight consecutive years of growth;
  • And all of this is funded largely by the sweat of entrepreneurs and the investment of technology shareholders.

Honestly, what’s not to like about it? A music industry that had been frozen to death due to piracy and was really struggling with what to do about it has been rescued and back to health.

Unfortunately, in classical terms, there is no such thing as an unpunished good turn in the music business, and over the past year, debate has raged about the “unfairness” of streaming online.

Of course, streaming, like anything you might be interested in, could be improved upon.

Importing delivery methods from the physical world of transactions into a consumption-based digital world like streaming will obviously create challenges.

Some artists and musicians may have been marginalized, but many streaming services also earn lower margins than physical retailers, even though they play an active role not only to satisfy demand. demand but also create it.

Therefore, we should rethink how the music streaming model works. It is well-documented that streaming has improved the bottom line of record companies, but it has yet to do the same miracles for many of the digital services that have truly revolutionized the world. streaming network.

Streaming has brought in billions of dollars in IPOs for shareholders of music companies, and it has brought in hundreds of millions of pounds for artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan and others have witnessed. Their musical value exploded. It has also ensured that more artists can monetize their recordings than ever before, and it has brought incredible benefits to music fans.

But the revolution is far from complete. The next challenge is not technology. It’s about fairness and sustainability. Music has never been and never will be purely egalitarian. Some songs are better than others. Not all musicians will command large audiences – even if streaming allows them to reach.

Simply dismissing concerns about artists, musicians, and streaming services, however, isn’t enough. There’s nothing God-given about dividing the income between the record and the song or how it flows through the value chain. The consolation, however, is being able to keep the status quo, it’s not out of the way of improvement.

We need to be bold. There are still significant flaws in the data provided to streaming services. We need to deal with them. We need more transparency to be able to go beyond claiming streaming is fair to proving it. And we need to move from saying we’re “open” about user-centric licensing to actually doing an exercise in its impact.

Streaming services have been and continue to do a great job in growing the music market. Now, let’s make sure that the fruits of their innovation and investment are applied in a way that best ensures the long-term success of the entire music ecosystem. Worldwide music business Why the streaming revolution is unfinished business

Fry Electronics Team

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