The Disruption of the Play Button

We are reaching the end of the year and it’s a great moment to stop up and think about what has happened in past years and predict what will be important in the future.

Every week we see that new music apps becomes available, new digital music platforms are launched and new creative and innovative ways of consuming music are created.

From a Scandinavian point of view, we see that many of The Orchard’s Scandinavian labels have been doing really well this year and that digital music sales have obviously increased. What is interesting is that digital revenues are starting to gain importance and that labels are starting to think digitally before physically. This may be due to the fact that Scandinavian countries are taking the helm when it comes to finding completely new ways to sell and buy music with real success stories.

Spotify has launched in a lot of new countries this year. Where this is new for many countries, streaming services have been standard in Scandinavia for a few years. Spotify was founded in Sweden in 2006, and has grown to be the biggest streaming service by far in Sweden. Besides Spotify in Sweden, Denmark was on top of it when TDC, a leading provider of communication services, launched its TDC Play in 2008. It was the first store to bundle music and telecom together and provide its costumers with unlimited music access. Among other streaming services in addition to Spotify and TDC Play, new innovative opportunities to listen, share and buy music have become a reality in Scandinavia – one of the first territories to achieve this.

Today, revenue doesn’t only come from downloads on music stores, but from any click through a streaming services as well. This makes it maybe the most exciting time for the industry in years. By having music become available to everyone and by increasing the number of subscribers and clicks, these large audiences will drive the full industry, including artists, to a more healthy stage.

Just think about how many times a day you view a video on YouTube, listen to a track on a blog or share a playlist on Facebook… All of these actions create revenues for artists. These new platforms are the new industry; and our job as a label or distributer is to drive people to the Play button.

It is worth noticing that the increase made from streaming services doesn’t cause revenue to go down on download stores. On the contrary, figures show that when revenue increases from the streaming services, download sales increase as well.

After a decade full of chaos, I feel that the industry is finally coming up with an interesting playground for artists, labels and fans where a healthy platform can be built. Labels can again focus on finding and developing talented artists, without sweating the small stuff.

The play button might have been disrupted, but the music has not.

One Comment


Hi Emelie

Interesting stuff. And as you say the start of interesting times. I think things are looking better than ever for music and musicians :-)


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