I have long been saying that the internet is the world and Google is its Prime Minister. It seems there is little else one needs than a Google account for social media, knowledge production, word processing, music consumption and distribution, video streaming and the art of ‘copywronging’. A major part of the equation is YouTube which has certainly had a major chunk of the streaming market. Youth all over the world now consume and distribute music via this medium creating very dynamic ways of interacting both with music and its producers. More generally, YouTube has been “portrayed as pretty much everything that is wrong with the digital music market. While there is no doubt that YouTube’s revenue-to-audience ratio is below that of audio streaming peers, it is also clear that YouTube is the music app of choice for more consumers than any other service (and it’s growing faster too). YouTube is both a crucially important part of the digital music market and a disruptive partner.”
And there’s more….
Complexity and opacity continue to act as brakes on the digital music market. For all the progress of companies like PledgeMusic and Kobalt, this emerging ‘alternative’ music industry is still very much at a formative stage. Some years from now this generation of companies could underpin the emergence of a counter-industry, an interconnected mesh of disruptive rights and tech companies that give artists and songwriters different routes to market and greater transparency and accountability. Heck, it might even have Blockchain underpinning it. But before this counter-industry movement gets to scale, it could have the wind stolen out of its sails by none other than YouTube.
The YouTube Paradox
Although YouTube has never had the closest of relationships with the music industry, it has clearly found the last few months particularly challenging, portrayed as pretty much everything that is wrong with the digital music market. While there is no doubt that…
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