Music Industry

Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Alan Cross

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More Predictions for Digital Music in 2015

These (abridged) predictions come courtesy of JonMaples.com. That’s where you can find the full text of each bit of prognostication.

Say Goodbye: At Least Two Services Will Consolidate

We are moving quickly from a startup world into one where the big boys are playing. Apple and YouTube will join Amazon and Google Music Play All Access as the giants. While I have grave misgivings if their product offerings will be very good, it might not matter. With access to their digital stores, consumers might just activate the AppleStream or Music Key apps just because it’s simple.

Agreed. There are too many streaming music services right now and all of them (save YouTube) are hemorrhaging money. Something has to change.

YouTube Music Key Will Deliver A Flat Note

YouTube has the biggest opportunity to grow paid streaming products. YouTube has a massive audience, which is great. But their audience has been conditioned to consider the service free.

Again, I agree. Would you pay for YouTube?

Apple’s streaming service will be a mess, and it won’t matter

The Cupertino geniuses do many things well. Streaming music has not been one of them. While it has the team from Beats Music to rely on, the company is known to ignore new talent acquired and turn it over to their internal team.

Probaby. Apple does social media poorly. Remember Ping?

Spotify Will IPO and More Artists Will Window

It is really difficult to judge how the public market operates and many things could happen that could affect Daniel Ek’s IPO prospects. We could see a downturn in the economy. Tech stocks could hit the skids again. The market might not like the prospects of the company’s future when it starts releasing business performance and data. But if Spotify overcomes all these hurdles, it will get its IPO out.

Maybe. But given the way Spotify is burning through cash, what’s the potential market cap? Then again, Amazon, which has never turned a profit, seems to be doing fine as a public company.

Pandora Will Become Musicians’ Most Hated Digital Service

Of all the companies in digital music today, none shows the most contempt for musicians and songwriters as Pandora. While the company has had some outreach, it also has tried to bend itself into a broadcast service to get a lower rate, decided to not pay a single dime for any song released before 1972 (as did XM Sirius), and then had the balls to countersue the ‘60s era group Turtles for violating its first amendment rights.

Pandora has a real PR problem and I don’t see it getting better this year.

Amazon Will Continue To Play Its Game

Seattle’s commerce behemoth will focus on what it always does: keeping its customers buying more stuff. Many expected Amazon to offer a premium service in 2014, but instead the company created a back-catalog offering that kept customers in its Prime service longer.

The company had a rough 2014 with its failed Fire phone launch. While its nose is bloody from that setback, don’t expect that Jeff Bezos’ company will change its game plan. Focus on the customer buying: regardless if it’s a digital download, diapers or dishrags.

Yep. Amazon is all about selling stuff and not turning profits. At least not yet.

Here are a few more from me:

  • High-Res music will become A Thing with a small but significant number of music consumers.
  • The age of the connected car won’t arrive in 2015 but we’ll get a whole lot closer.
  • Canadians will get deeper into streaming music services, but many people will shy away due to fear of high data charges by their telcos.



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About the Author

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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