The Devils Advocate


The music industry has been the back seat driver for many years now. They have sold their souls to second/third parties that are out for their own interest and profits. The music industry has become an obsolete industry that depends heavily on teach companies to market, promote and distribute. These companies have introduced and supported streaming services, which have devalued music. Streaming services are readily available and easily accessible from mobile phones and free Wi-Fi hotspots, that are just about every where. Never mind the competitive market that forces streaming companies to keep the free subscription model and the subscribers that are paying reduced rates. Music streaming is a low-margin business. A streamed song generates far less profits than a CD sale or even the purchase of a song online. In fact streaming has been blamed for iTunes downward sales. Sales have dropped 24% within the last year. It has been rumored that Apple’s purchase of Beats Music was to off center the declining iTunes sales. This rumor makes perfect sense, seeing many industry professionals believe streaming is the answer to the music industry’s problems. I find this hard to believe, while streaming services maintain business, but still have yet turned a profit. The real reason Apple wanted to acquire Beats Music was to have another reason to sell more iPhones, iPads and iPods. Apple has never been in the business of selling music; they make their real money by selling their hardware. Apple will use any trick to force consumers into buying their products, whether it’s the format of music from the iTunes store or the exclusive Apps and services (Beats Music service). Let’s face it; it doesn’t hurt to be the number one digital distributor. iTunes and the iPod have made Apple one of the hippest, never mind the income stream that it has generated.

The music industry must regain the power of marketing, promoting and distributing. These elements are key components of controlling the music market place. We as an industry must not ignore the warning signs, they are right in plain sight. If we allow streaming companies to give our music to consumers for free, we are doomed; it’s no wonder why consumers don’t see the value of music. If someone were to give you food everyday, why would you go food shopping? Point being is if every streaming service keeps saying they are going to remove the free subscription model and renege the idea to keep up with competition. Who wins? Not the artist, not the independent labels, maybe the major labels and the streaming services will eventually. Why would we kill off the independent labels, the heartbeat of the music industry? The labels that breed and develop new talent, the same labels that bring creativity and the trendsetters of today?