Apple Music Is More Than Just A Spotify Killer, It Could End Music Labels Too – Forbes
The music industry confuses me. I love music as much as anyone, but it baffles me how this industry is still clueless after everything that has happened in the last 15 years.
I grew up with services like Napster, and I’ve seen labels turn into scared, litigious shells that have lost sight of what their goal is. Apple Apple, on the other hand, is focused and intelligent. It spent billions on Beats, not for the overpriced and under-performing headphones, but for its two owners and the streaming music service.
The problem with the music industry has always been its reluctance to embrace change. When the internet took off and service like Napster arrived on university campuses across the world these firms had a choice. They could either work out what it was that people liked about music piracy, and provide some of that through legitimate means. Or, they could litigate and cower in fear as their golden goose started to show signs of infertility. They chose to sue, rather than develop their own system of selling music. It fell to companies like Apple to actually develop an ecosystem where music was sold in a format similar in design to how a less legal service worked.
As a business, making money can be hard. I run a business, so I know what might lie ahead. Work might dry up, budgets might get slashed and I may have to stop doing this and re-tool my company into something else entirely. That, of course, would be traumatic for me, but as the person in charge of my business, if I don’t do due diligence and understand the market, who do I have to blame if that happens? I might feel cross about those who write for lower rates, or sometimes no rate, but these are market forces that are far bigger than any one company.
The record industry wanted to blame Napster and Limewire and Kazza and Audiogalaxy. Now it wants to blame Torrents and Kim Dotcom and Dropbox. At no point has the industry looked inward and said “guys, we might need to do some changing here”.
The thing is, the music industry always had something of a point when it came to people sharing music and not paying to download tracks. But the biggest threat to the industry isn’t people stealing music, it’s their being rendered irrelevant by a company like Apple.
Let me explain how things could go wrong for the industry…