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What Exactly IS “the Music Industry?"

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This article from The Motley Fool (“Why the Music Industry Desperately Needs Apple”) provides a pretty limited, loose definition of “the industry” - digital downloads and monetized streams. As for “who” is the industry, this article seems to position that labels are the primary players. In an environment where streaming is taking bite-sized chunks out of digital downloads (sales from the iTunes store were down 13%-14% in 2014) and recorded music has lost it’s monetary value (no scarcity = no value), this article laments the downfall of the industry and calls for disruption. Industry disruption IS happening, albeit the speed of progress is lagging behind that of massive transformation in music content and consumption. As the pool of streams inevitably grows larger, the revenue stream of all those micro cents will turn in to big $$ (for an independent artist, it only takes 14-20 streams to equal the royalty revenue of a single download), and as brands align more authentically with artists, more dollars will flow through the ecosystem. If labels are “the industry”, then yes, the industry may be dying. For artists, however, and players that are innovating beyond the Apple ecosystem of “download and/or stream”, the future is bright.

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