Is digital starting to pay for the music industry?

By March 17, 2010Music


Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, was interviewed at SXSW today.  There is a full write up on VentureBeat which is well worth a read if you are interested in this space, but the standout nugget for me is captured in the following quotes from Ek.  They capture the industries main challenge, the evidence it is starting to overcome the challenge, and the article of faith that underpins many free-cheap music services.

The industry is looking at new revenue opportunities and are generally positive on them. But nothing in digital has really been able to counter the decline in traditional revenue sources. [The challenge]


If you also look at Sweden, between 15 and 18 percent Swedish population actually uses Spotify. The music industry revenues are up there. Legal music revenues are up. Everything is up. It’s only a few percentage points but it’s up. [The evidence of progress]


I really believe that if music could be legally available on any device that you wanted… I think the music industry would be radically bigger than what it is today, [The article of faith]

It is dangerous to read too much into an extract from an interview at a conference, particularly when the interviewee has a vested interest, but if legal music revenues in Sweden continue to rise that will be of huge significance.  In supporting news elsewhere in the interview Ek said that the UK is showing signs of being similar.

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  • Its a matter of time before we see a change in the protectionist nature of the music label industry allowing new technologies to permeate through – whether it be in distribution or royalty management. Its well elaborated at

  • I agree. The question is of course how much time, and how many
    startups perish in the interim.

    Thanks for the comment – you have got me thinking that I might post
    about inevitability of change and startup timing.

  • Good to see these sorts of numbers come out. I was always wondering if their model was right. Prior to this I was thinking that if their premium price was £1 a month rather than £10 maybe their revenues would jump plenty and cost of delivery not rise to match it….but looking at this maybe they've got the balance right.