TMV Music Industry Predictions for 2009
If 2008 was the year that music went truly digital, we’re predicting that 2009 will be the year that music got a lot more consumer-friendly. With any luck, 2008 will be the year we look back upon and say ‘that was the last time we heard about DRM limiting sales’ or ‘that was the last time I recall a fan being sued by the music industry’.
Time will tell of course, but on the eve of MIDEM, we thought we’d throw in our lot and peer into the TMV crystal ball and see what it reveals. This post was co-written by Jakomi Mathews and Chris McLellan.
iTunes & Amazon Will Launch Subscription Services
Recent issues surrounding Last.FM royalty payments notwithstanding, the growth of this and other subscription services such as Nokia’s ‘Comes With Music’ and Rhapsody have now combined with ubiquitous home broadband and interesting hardware solutions (e.g. Sonos & Logitech) to make music subscription a truly valid alternative to ‘owning’ tracks.
With mobile music subscription companies like Omnifone making big waves as well, we think iTunes and Amazon, the largest of the online music stores, will be hard-pressed to resist the trend much longer.
iTunes Will Go ‘All MP3’
The time has come. The gloves are off. Amazon Music has done it. 7Digital has done it. Even though combined these two music shops make up perhaps 20% of the download market, we still expect Mr. Jobs to finally apply Apple’s pro-consumer heritage to their digital music offering in 2009.
Ok, this might not be one of our boldest predictions for 2009. But for music consumers everywhere, it will truly be one of the most welcome. Fingers crossed we see an end to the convert>burn>re-import process consumers have had to endure for so long now.
Mobile Social Music Will Fail To Make Major In-roads
While TMV applauds the efforts of Nokia (Comes With Music), Vodafone (Omnifone) and Sony Ericsson (PlayNow plus), the fact that there is still such a dearth of unlimited data plans in the market, especially on the pre-paid contracts favoured by younger consumers, will continue to severely limit the uptake of these services.
Furthermore, the use of DRM technology in mobile social music effectively creates a closed social network and imposes great limitations and the freedom of the community to interact and share. It’s like Last.FM being ‘Dell Only’ – it just wouldn’t work. And neither will ‘Nokia only’ or ‘iPhone only’ communities grow on any significant scale.
What is required is a mobile social network for music that is free of bespoke DRM technology and independent of any particular manufacturer handset. Only then will mobile social music truly blossom.
Mobile Ticketing Will Go Mass Market
After some promising experiments as far back as 2007 (Ticketmaster with O2 for the Wireless festival)mobile ticketing will go Big Time in 2009. After all, what could be easier or more convenient than purchasing a ticket from a mobile referral service and then having your m-ticket sent directly to your mobile device?
The above scenario is a small part of what is driving the pending O2/Live Nation link up. How long before mobile ticketing becomes far more widespread, both from Live Nation/Ticketmaster as well as their Secondary Ticketing cousins?
Not long is the answer. Look for pioneers like Mobiqa to make some big announcements in the coming months.
Blackberry & Google Will Release Music Handsets
With major hardware and content partners linking up like horny teenagers, these two vendors can spare no time in launching serious challengers to the Sony Ericsson’s, Apple’s and Motorola’s of the world who have shown a real interest in tapping into the mobile needs of the music fan.
With Blackberry desperate to get into the consumer market and start nipping at iPhone, and the rest of the pack (including awakening-giant Google) chasing the iPhone’s superior music experience, we expect some fan-friendly handsets from these two companies in the first half of the year that take their their interesting first efforts to even greater heights.
Playlist Sharing Will Take Off
Despite their current copyright issues over in-line linking (which we think they’ll win), Playlist.com will prove just the beginning of digital music’s answer to the mixed tape of yesteryear. And why? Because people (ok, young men) love to share music and the playlist is an easy and fun way for the average music consumer to be creative with the music they love.
We expect more services like Playlist, and certainly improved efforts from iTunes and Last.FM on the playlist front. We love Last.FM’s use of tagging to create lists. Let’s hope they build on that sort of creativity.
Secondary Ticketers Will Improve Out-payments
With Ticketmaster having launched its own secondary ticketing company, have the legal hurdles with artists, agents and their managers finally been overcome or is it a wrangle that is set to continue? In our view artists are still not adequately compensated on secondary ticket sales. However, we do see light shining at the end of the tunnel near Q4 of 2009.
We’ll See More CD-Only Releases
Those old rock dogs AC/DC opened a can or worms last year, didn’t they? Will other mature artists risk spurning the online shopping habits of today’s youth and go for the money?
Ummm, yeah, we think they just might.
Promoter 360 Deals Will Be Challenged
The catch phrase of 2008, “360 deal”, is rapidly wearing thin. The CEO of Live Nation, the company that started it all, has recently firied the board of Artist Nation, the group responsible for making such deals.
Despite this, the Big Four are full-steam-ahead on such sales/publishing/merch/performace deals. We think 2009 will see the first significant challenges to these deals, potentially under an ‘Unfair Restriction of Trade’ basis.
[That being said, we still think that artist deals will see some of the most exciting changes and innovations in the music industry in 2009.]
MySpace Music & Merlin Will Kiss & Make Up
TMV predict that MySpace Music will conclude a deal with indie digital licensing powerhouse Merlin. While neither side will likely be 100% happy with the outcome of the deal, we predict that is will happen before the end of Q2.
ISPs Will Take Increasing Responsbility For Illegal File Sharing
2008 and was the year ISPs who, in any legal definition in court would easily been seen as ‘accessories to copyright crime’ finally came to the table in the UK, France and a few other territories. The folks here at TMV predict that this will spread further afield and that by the close of 2009 we will all see agreements on a global level between ISPs and Copyright owners. TMV predict the next country to embrace collaboration instead of confrontation will be Australia.
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