Last weekend, I went down to Miami for the first Revolt Music Conference. It was an excellent event with a list of really powerful and provocative people from all corners of the music space. The conversations were passionate and constructive.
On the second night, I was invited to a group dinner with several music industry colleagues. We talked music and family, then the conversation turned to the business. The question came up and was directed at me: “What do you think about the future of streaming?" This same question probably came up at nearly every dinner that night, and many of the breakfasts and lunches earlier in the day.
“I don’t really think about the future of streaming," I responded.
And it's true. I explained that I think a lot about what’s after streaming, about what comes next. And I think a lot about how to optimise and utilise the present day of streaming.
But I don’t think about it’s future. I’m sure it has a future, but I’m also sure like any form of music consumption – or any media for that matter – that something new will come.
And that’s actually more fun and challenging to think about. Look at the mass media of the last 100 years – print then radio then television then the Internet. What comes next? It doesn’t end at the Internet, nor does it mean the next thing wipes out the previous forms of media.
What we do know is that the way people consume music is always changing. And how people listen has changed – from wax cylinders to LPs to cassettes to CDs to digital formats and, now, streaming.
I do spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Getting that balance just right between convenience, and cool, and what the audience wants, and what the artists need. The empowering part about the future is that we can all play an active part in shaping and inventing it the way we want it to be.
In the 1980’s in Britian, there was a campaign called “Home Taping is Killing Music.” Well that didn’t happen. Streaming will not kill music. Just the opposite, in fact. Streaming keeps music alive.
And in the meantime, I’ll think about the present day of streaming. Which as a listener, I love and am thankful for every day that I have access to listen to all the world’s great music wherever and whenever I want (with my service of choice being Spotify, of course). And I think a lot about how I can leverage this as a marketer to create shared value between our brands, consumers, music artists and the music industry.
And music makers are doing the same. This is a whole new way for emerging talent to break through we’re seeing.
So until the next evolution of music consumption is here -- and no, I don't think a chip in our heads is the answer, but wouldn’t it be funny if in 10 years I am re-reading this post through one? -- I'm focusing on the hear and now.
Joe Belliotti is head of global music marketing at The