As people cotton on to the likes of Spotify with its business model of free ad-supported desktop streaming and premium all-device streaming, we end up wondering which direction the trade in recorded music would go.
Some people reckon that use of these music services would displace the concept of buying music whether as CDs or vinyl from a physical store or online; or as “electronic hard-copy” files (MP3s, FLAC files, etc) from an online outlet like iTunes.
For me and most other readers, I get hold of music on a “to-own” basis where we prefer to buy a CD or record, or download music as an “electronic-hard-copy” format like MP3. Personally, I use Spotify as a tool to discover music of interest or give that album that I am thinking of a “test run” before heading to JB Hi-Fi to buy the CD or visiting BigPond Music or iTunes to “pick-up” the files.
The article was placing in to doubt the ad-supported or subscription-driven business models that these places use and whether they are really sustainable as far as the business is concerned. As a music consumer, I would like to see the development of an ad-supported or subscription-driven streaming service that is augmented by the ability for one to buy the tracks or albums as 320kbps MP3s or high-grade FLAC / WMA files on a “download-to-own” basis. This kind of service could be extended by the ability to buy CDs, SACDs or vinyl records through the service and have them shipped out to them.
Such a service could be offered by a pure streaming-content provider like Spotify through a partnership with someone like Amazon, iTunes or Deezer; and they could provide a “points model” or subscription rebate to support those who wish to buy the music as well as stream the new titles.
The streaming services can work alongside the “to-own” model of acquiring music and video material by allowing discovery and test-run opportunities for those of us who are thinking of newer content