Here we are again at the end of another year and it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball to see what 2015 might have in store for the music business. I hit on about half of my predictions last year, with most of the others still pending as the story lines developed slower than anticipated. Here are 10 music business predictions for the upcoming year.
1. Apple launches a new music service. Beats Music doesn’t have a huge number of subscribers so it can be retired without fear of killing a well-liked brand. In its place Apple will launch a new on-demand streaming service that’s cheaper than the competition and features high resolution audio.
2. High resolution audio becomes a standard streaming feature. TIDAL and Deezer set the precedent, and soon all streaming services will offer at least one tier of hi-res audio. Of course, the definition of high resolution will continue to be a moving target, as some services equate the term with CD quality while others offer higher sampling rates and/or 24 bit depth.
3. The digital pie gets larger. As consumers become more comfortable with on-demand streaming, larger numbers of them register for the various platforms. More of them than ever are willing to pay for their service of choice than ever before.
4. Downloads continue to slide. Downloads fall below $1 billion in total revenue as music consumers find that having access to millions of songs is a lot better than owning just a few.
5. Vinyl soars again. Once only a blip on the radar of the industry, vinyl sales continue to grow to the point where they make a very small but significant contribution to the bottom line of many record labels. For the first time in 40 years, new vinyl production gear is produced to meet the demand. Read more on Forbes.