A BIGSOUND conference doesn’t go by where digital sales and the act of music streaming is brought up. So when Will Page of Spotify took the stage at the Judith Wright Centre Performance Stage there were some vacant questions willing to be answered. The amount of raw data presented in the small space of 25 minutes was quite baffling, but Page was able to concentrate it into graphs and maps for us mere humans to understand.
The prospect of declining music sales could be aligned to how the Spotify product, its affiliating streaming services, works. Consumers are willing to choose digital files over physical copies or have the bandwidth capacity to continue to stream their music. In terms of world stats, the major music players and markets have been on a decline, recently, for their music sales. Spain, Canada and the majority of Europe showed a slump in music sales, overall. Yet it was us Aussies who remain strong in sales, and still have the ability to use streaming services. Page mentioned 1 in 6 Australians have at least tried Spotify and that we are one of the leading countries for subscribers. Page claims this trend, in Australia particularly, leads to a successful festival season and jumps in live music profits.
The data, which has been collated since Spotify’s inception in 2006, collectively compared the stats of music sales and and live music sales each year. Observations were made in 2010 and 2012 when live music sales actually overtook recorded music sales. While it was perhaps due to specific bands and their album cycles, the flows of the graphs showed development and change in the music scene globally.
Page also brought to the attention of music piracy being a major cause to declining album sales but decided to focus on the difference between film and TV illegal downloads. Will Page showed hope and encouragement for the Australian music scene. Spotify might be here to stay, but what will it replace and how?