The Music Biz

This quote from Paul Sweeting’s article about Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats made my eyes pop out

According to the 2014 Mid-Year Music Industry Report, sales (i.e. downloads) of digital music tracks in the U.S. were down 13 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Sales of digital albums were down 11.6 percent over the same period, to 53.8 million.

Bad news for Apple, as this is its flagship music service – downloads. But there is more …

On-demand streams, meanwhile, which Apple has not offered up to now, were up a whopping 42 percent.

That is not a typo. 42%. Now you can see why everyone in the music business is scratching their heads about how to get into streaming, Apple included. So what is the big deal with Beats? It is not the goofy headphones. It is the way Beats packages music – by theme rather than artist. That sells.

So let’s play with that thought. Assuming that this will continue to sell, we are likely to see more curated music packages organized around themes, delivered via streaming to your favorite music consumption devices. This may lead to a change in the way music is produced — to fit into a theme package rather than just sell an individual artist via an album (where you find 2 or 3 great songs and then a lot of trash).

Hmmm … I wonder if this might lend itself to a new kind of crowdfunding platform for music generation – where musicians offer and respond to offers around themes. Let’s see if this happens.

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