There’s not a whole lot to get excited about in the digital music space at the moment, at least not at its core. At the periphery there’s plenty of exciting innovation, with numerous new discovery, gaming and app offerings tumbling into the market place, but that only highlights just how little is happening on the service and store side. The context for MIDEM a few years ago was a whole new wave of services such as Comes With Music, MySpace Music, Spiral Frog and Qtrax.
Come 2011, Nokia has just announced the inevitable limiting of its unlimited music offering, MySpace has made lots of desk space in its offices, Spiral Frog croaked it long ago and Qtrax, well that’s probably as much of a mystery to themselves as to anyone else…
Digital music products just haven’t got out of the starting blocks. In fact they’ve got one foot nailed to them. Music’s first digital decade is behind it and yet we’re still trying to figure out a role for mobile; we’re still waiting the 99 cents download to blossom outside of the iTunes ecosystem; we’re still waiting for 9.99 subscriptions to break out of a niche; we’re still trying to work out how to make the economics of ad supported add up; we’re still trying to get ISPs ‘on side’; we’re still waiting for piracy to decline; we’re still watching recorded music revenues decline; and we’ve still got CDs as the bedrock of music sales!
So what’s the answer? Well the solution is both elegantly simple and terrifyingly complex. An entire new music product strategy is required, one that embraces the disruption that is currently shattering the music business. One that makes a quantum leap in functionality, not just an evolutionary baby step.
On Saturday I’ll present to MIDEM my vision of exactly what this change needs to entail. I look forward to sharing my thinking with you there. For those of you who are unable to attend, I’ll post a synopsis here sometime soon after my speech.
Mark Mulligan, VP and research director for Forrester Research in London, addresses MidemNet at 12.00, January 22. As well as his synopsis, full video of his session (plus around 30 others) will be available here on MIDEMBlog around an hour after the session.