Let’s Predict the Future: What Will the Music Business Look Like in Five Years?

If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be typing this: I’d be out making it happen so I could be very, very rich in five years. But since I have no clue (and let’s face it, no one else does, either), the only thing we can do is harvest opinions from others.

Steve Gordon wrote this piece for Billboard. Is he right?

From the dawn of the digital era in 1999, with the introduction of Napster, the U.S. recording industry has seen a cataclysmic decline in income, from $14.5 billion at its peak to less than $7 billion in 2013 (accounting for inflation, a decline of over 65%).

In the last three years, however, income has not decreased as much as in previous years. Music streaming services have started to catch on with consumers, particularly Spotify, which pays approximately 60% of its gross income for recorded music (and another 10.5% for songs). Pandora, the leading internet radio company in the U.S., now has over 70 million active users and pays over half of its gross income for recorded music.

The question is: Will streaming help the record business recover its past financial glory? I think not.

Continue reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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