Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek claims that illegal downloading has irreparably damaged the music industry's traditional ways of selling "records", but cloud computing could find new ways of generating much needed revenue.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal Europe’s Weekend Journal, which is relaunching this week, Ek states that the move to digital music has been bad for many studios, especially when it comes to the formerly reliable youth market: "What scares me is that there's an entire generation that's grown up now that doesn't understand why you should pay for music at all," he says. "Maybe you're the kind of customer who spends £500 a year on iTunes, but most people are not. And especially not 14- to 18-year-olds who know they can get it free".
He also attempts to explain why the industry is worth far less than it was in the nineties: "What's really interesting is what's happened the last 10, 12 years, since Napster... People listen to more music than ever, but the music industry has gone from a $50 billion industry to about $17 billion. The fundamental model of selling a record is broken".
However, there are other avenues to generate cash; the Spotify model, for example: "It's moved from being about ownership to being about access".
"Just having free music won't save the music industry..... What I'm selling is not just a piece of music. It's portability for your entire collection and a virtual collection your friends can add to or send you".
Ek also believes that the future of this kind of music access service can be a profitable one for all. Perhaps even on a par with the revenue streams of old: "Don't forget that there's $200 billion of advertising which has not yet moved to digital. But it will..... [With music online] there's so much usage that revenues will rise, and rise well past what the industry is today".
As long as they promise to never release another Jedward album that is.
What do you think? Would you rather your entire music collection was stored in the cloud, ready to be accessed wherever you are? Or do you like ownership and solid state media? Let us know in the comments below...