Will streaming really save music?

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This was the topic of a round-table at the VivaTech conference – THE annual Paris’ tech. conference – last year in June.

Interesting question? Non. Pure scandal journalism type.

Because music is not, and has never been, dying. Music is the song of the soul. Music is the soul of a population.  As long as mankind exists, there will be music.

And when it comes to musicians, let’s not forget that they still, in general, make 80% of their revenues from live performance.

Now, it’s still not uninteresting to look at the situation nowadays, and why some people might think music needs to be saved.

As in every corner of our society, the digital revolution has shaken up the music world.

Digital revolution means that instead of having a piece of music on a physical support (vinyl or CD), it’s numerical. And alongside the development of internet 2.0, it’s never been so easy to spread those numerical files.

On the bright side, this has lead to easily share some tracks to promote a gig. But on the other side, it’s lead to illegal downloading. And that quite understandingly has created a bad feeling among musicians: they wouldn’t get anything back from their artistic creation. But those who were the most impacted was the industry! If you’re business is to press and sale CDs and nobody buy them anymore, you’re going bankrupt.

Fortunately, illegal downloading was not perfect; and not just because it was illegal! Because still you had to carry with you your ipod or mp3 player which had a limited capacity. A couple of clever guys such as Daniel Marhely (original founder of Deezer) had the idea that because music was digital, there could just be a big music-library on the net accessible by everyone from every computer and soon smartphone. And this is call ‘streaming’. The big thing is that you can create a legal ‘door’ to that massive music online library, from which you can apply royalties, and then everybody -especially the music industry- could be back on smiling.

As usual the reality is bit more complicated.  Who ‘own’ that ‘door’? How do we organise it? Should we pay and how much for it? Streaming is also bringing with its practice a lots of questions (and Bustle Music is trying to answer some as we will explain later on on this blog).

But fundamentally, music has never been dying, though the music industry has struggled. Now streaming does indeed offer a new and unique opportunity to re-shuffle the cards between artists, the industry and listeners. And that’s full of hope!

Cyrille

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