The record industry in five years time: smaller, much smaller, but profitable

The collection societies in five years time: fewer, far fewer

The preferred storage and delivery format for recorded music in five years time:
the encrypted card with the world’s repertoire will start to challenge downloads. The CD will still stumble on

The leading players in five years time: managers and music publishers, who will be able to offer exclusive access to and enhanced versions of the works of their artists; most of the other players will become secondary agents

The survivors in five years time: artists

Those who won’t be around in five years time: audio streaming companies.


About Author

James Martin

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.


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    I disagree. The preferred storage device won’t be physical, it will be the cloud. Who needs storage. Personal storage will become a vestigial organ of our past.

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    Until I get reliable DSL at vacation cabins, the beach, on transatlantic flights, in subway tunnels, etc, and until phone companies provide uninterrupted, high quality streaming all the time, without dropped signals and on a device with an impressive battery life, the cloud will remain a far-off storybook dream.

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    The question is though, how will musicians be paid?
    1) Half the world’s youth are in labour camp penitentiaries working off their piracy sentences to re-imburse the record labels’ losses.
    2) 90% of the 10x more expensive ISP connection fee goes in a tax to be paid to publishers and collection societies.
    3) Copyright is abolished and fans pay artists directly (of their own free will!). See http://a2f2a.com

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    S. Marshall Eldridge on

    [smiles] … there’s something coming in 10 months that’ll change everything in the music business and makes all of these predictions useless … keep an eye on Techcrunch50 2010 … you heard it here first!

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    CD for independent artists really doesn’t make financial sense (how many indie artists have boxes of stock stacked in their garage – hands up) but with Amazon on Demand of course there is no stock risk for the artist… Monetizing the digital distribution chain means lower revenues for all, increased competition and new models for business sustainability for small labels. I agree that cloud storage is for the most part still a long way off until we have good Wifi available “over the air” as it were, and mobile technology has a lot to catch up on (unless you are in Tokyo of course) so MP3/MP4 and the hard drive equipped players will still be around for a long time yet. Yes the next 5 years are going to be an interesting journey of evolution…

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    Very true – unless someone find the holy grail of the music industry – a way to fingerprint a music file so that it only could be copied with a one time pin code. The need for such an invention is so profound that if found it will bring back the revenues with vengeance and will bring more money to the owner than Mozart would have done if he lived still today

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    I don’t agree with any of these predictions. There’s a lot of cool things in the works by a lot of smart people.
    I think the idea of the “one-size-fits-all music 2.0” model doesn’t exist. What works for Iron Maiden, isn’t going to work for Miley Cyrus, but yet the industry seems to think it does.
    If you’re an artist, and you aren’t thinking about multiple revenue streams, you will fail. The idea of earning a living wage strictly on record sales is not gonna work. To steal Apple’s tagline- you need to Think Different.

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