by John McDuling, QZ.com March 23 2015
AUSTIN, Texas–Should music ever be free? That was the inescapable topic of discussion among the hordes of recording-industry middlemen and hangers-on gathered for the music section of the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference last week.
It’s a schism that has emerged just when it looked like subscription streaming services, such as Spotify, were bringing an end to the music industry’s years of economic pain. The dispute concerns the “freemium” model, which allows consumers to listen to music for free in exchange for listening to ads, or pay to listen without ads.
Streaming as music’s savior
In general, music ownership, in both physical and digital download forms, is in a death spiral. Although vinyl is making a surprise comeback, it’s a niche market.
.That makes subscription-based streaming the closest thing the music industry has to a savior. Figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) this week showed that revenue from streaming services in the US surpassed that from CDs in 2014, and grew 29% on the previous year. Credit Suisse has forecast that the global recorded music industry could return to growth again as soon as next year, thanks to the spread of streaming.
READ MORE HERE