With the Brits taking place this past Tuesday in London, the spotlight has once again settled on the music industry’s apparent inability to keep up with technology. High street sales continue to decline, and illegal downloading is still rife.
So what does the music industry have to do to make money in this brave new digital world? Free, ad-funded streaming services like Spotify are massively popular with consumers.
However, Paul Brindley, CEO of Music Ally Ltd, told Tech Radar: “There is a general feeling amongst most labels that the pure advertising funded streaming just doesn't stack up, either for rights owners or for the services themselves as the value generated by the ads is simply not enough to make this a viable business.”
He added: "That's why the labels are so keen on freemium models which at least have an upgrade route to a paid-for subscription.”
Christian Ward, digital music PR specialist from Clarity Communications, reckons smartphones are the answer.
"Any future for music streaming has to have mobile/smartphone as its focus," Christian explained to TechRadar. "I think that's how the next generation are going to be doing the majority of their listening."
Ward acknowledges that Apple’s plans for a subscription cut (announced earlier this week) could have a profound effect on the online music landscape.
"Is it going to hobble Spotify, and will it drive more streaming services to Android? The labels will be looking warily at Apple trying to dominate another part of the music consumption pie, so will be interesting to see what they do - more bespoke offerings like this new Virgin one, or will they start to see Spotify in a more favourable light and put more of their effort there?"
Time will tell, Ward. Time will tell.