The Digital Market: Streaming With Delight (And Dollars)
The music industry is getting a shot in the arm from digital products and subscription based services and free streaming from select devices
By Michele Wilson-Morris [12-02-2012]
Recent increases in the music industry's revenue are largely due to huge increases in digital sales, which shouldn't be a shock to anyone. But how much the market is expected to grow, just might be a news flash, with global analyst firm Ovum predicting a 15% rise in total revenue, or $22.5 billion USD by 2017. Portability and accessibility are certainly contributing factors to sales of digital products, but one should never overlook the power of an offer that's just too good to refuse.
North American and European music markets though must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the report's findings, which indicate that instead of getting a bigger slice of the music revenue pie, they'll be on a proverbial diet, with an actual decrease in revenue between 5% and 7%, because ringtones just aren't ringing the cash registers in these regions. But those who still have smiles on their faces owe a big thanks to innovative subscription packages and bundles. And they come in all shapes and sizes to fit every consumer's needs and wants. Music lover can choose from mobile music bundles, on-demand subscriptions, unlimited cloud based subscriptions, free music streaming with the purchase of certain phones, and platforms that allow anyone to share and monetize their video and audio content across leading devices. You see, the saying, "Less is more" only applies to the world of fashion and Playboy Magazine, not the music industry. Consumers are demanding choices, and providers are being very responsive.
Sony Corporation's "Music Unlimited" cloud-based music subscription service in Japan was recently announced, and gives music lovers access to more than 10 million songs, that are compatible on – you guessed it – Sony devices. The initial catalogue will offer songs from EMI Music Japan Inc., Universal Music, LLC, and Warner Music Japan, in addition to leading independent labels. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. More songs will be added over time. Sony has no reason to expect anything but success as the Japanese market is quite lucrative, and some might even say greedy for music on their terms, with plenty to choose from. Also, the program, which was initially launched in the UK and Ireland in December 2010, has proven to be quite successful. "Music Unlimited" is now available in 17 countries around the world, and that number will increase.
Nokia has a relatively simple idea as well. Buy our Nokia Lumia phones, and stream music absolutely free from over 150 exclusive playlists that are curated and kept up to date by an expert team of US based musicologists. And talk about selection? You can listen to everything from underground Detroit house tracks to the New York Philharmonic. The phone also comes with the ability for users to create their own playlists, is free of advertisements and requires no registration. So, Nokia is offering a great phone, with amazing musical choices and no hassles? You can't beat that with a stick, and none but the ill-advised would dare to try.
Even the digital media startup Pivotshare is getting in on the action. Recently closing $1 million dollars in Series A funding, the money is being put to good use, as the company improves upon its self-service solution that allows anyone with audio or video content to monetize it across leading devices. This fills the void in the market between free services which rely on advertisements and expensive online video platforms. There are no startup costs or monthly fees. Okay, maybe less is more in this instance, but I digress.
The music industry is getting a shot in the arm from digital products and subscription based services, free streaming from select devices, and the ability to offer and monetize one's content. It's a much needed boost to the system, and one that doesn't hurt or require a Band-Aid.
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