Right now, big platforms like YouTube and Spotify control the monetized content market. But this is changing. Be prepared for at least one more shift in consumption that favors direct-to-fan relationships. You’ll see more middlemen cut to improve margins and add deeper fan engagement, I believe the recent acquisition of Beats by Apple is a key indicator into what is coming. Artists will begin to partner with brands and go direct to the consumers that overlap those interests for the benefit of everyone involved.
I highly recommend this Medium article by Scott McLeod on the evolution of music’s digital landscape. He makes a compelling argument about the consumption of music and its monetization after the incredible upheavals the industry faced due to the Internet. He carefully charts this paradigm shift from the Napster days till now, especially how the record label lost its sovereignty over the relationship between artist and consumer. This led to the rise of streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. He says the current model, however, harms the artist’s ability to create because of bleeding revenue. Much has been documented about how little money musicians make from these platforms. Continue reading