So, how will we go about making the industry giants, the world providers of music online, up their game and provide us with high-quality lossless music downloads? Quite a task in the face of the MP3 music download world we now live in. Well, lets think about the task in hand. Here are a few facts for starters:
Broadly, there are five sources of the worlds download music, four companies and the independents. They are, roughly: 25% Universal Music Group; 22% Sony BMG; 13% EMI; 11% Warner Music Group; (the Big Four) and a healthy but very fragmented 29% independent music companies.
Our searches online prior to launch have found just under 30 download stores selling or giving away CD quality or higher lossless music downloads. Of these, only one (HD Tracks) offers any content from the Big Four, most of the others sell a small selection of lossless alongside MP3 lossy downloads, or are specialist genre stores, selling wonderfully recorded music for a very specialist audience. But the independents are swifter on their feet and perhaps more in-tune with their audience, who are maybe older than the average MP3 listener and more likely to buy music than share it with their friends. The independents are leading the way. We need the Big Four to sit up and listen - so why should they do that, you are thinking? Well... here are a few reasons:
Physical CD sales continue falling in volume world-wide every year; illegal MP3 file sharing is a way of life for many 12-24 year-olds; music revenues have shrunk dramatically & there is diminishing money in the music industry to market and manage bands; speed of technological change has outstripped the industry's ability to adapt; home broadband internet speeds are becoming universal in the developed world and developing countries, particularly in Asia, are playing catch-up.
How could the Big Four stop their falling revenues? One obvious revenue stream would be to sell CD quality downloads. It is not the MP3 buyers and file sharers that are the problem for the music industry now, that genie is well out of the bottle. The industry needs to look toward the maturer market, the buyer of CDs - that is in general the 25 year-old and over market - the people with disposable income and a taste for quality home entertainment.
Commercially, it seems a no-brainer! The CD quality data is already stored at CD quality, so no additional cost of processing. CD quality files can be sold at near the current physical CD price, so there is a revenue advantage over MP3. It is easier to support back-catalogues online than physical CDs. It's greener than pressing and transporting plastic disks around the globe. Need I go on?
We will be making this point to the Big Four and all those independents. As one voice, we can change this dire situation from the grass roots. You have joined DreamStreaming - thank you - together we can make a big enough noise to make a change.
Tell all your music loving friends to join DreamStreaming if they love music and want access to quality music downloads, before physical CD quality becomes a memory and MP3 lossy downloads become the norm.
Michael Osborn CEO DreamStreaming.