Digital Won’t Halt Music Downfall, Radiohead Go Free Again

imageThe growing importance of online and mobile won’t stop music spending’s decline over the next few years, according to an eMarketer survey of published forecasts. The research aggregator says online/mobile’s share of worldwide music spending will grow from just 15.4 percent last year to 25.5 percent in 2008, 39.4 percent in 2009 and 48.5 percent in 2010, before digital becomes the dominant medium on 56.6 percent in 2011. Still, overall spending will fall from $29.2 million to $26.2 million over that same period.

As this week’s British Phonographic Industry figures revealed, consumer music spending may be falling but licensing income from a new wave of online services offers hope. Radiohead, which last year allowed listeners to pay something or nothing for its In Rainbows album, is again giving the material to listeners for free.

The release’s 10 tracks just went live and on-demand via – the first such free-streaming license the band has done, and one struck through it’s “one-stop” licensing arrangement with Warner/Chappell that the industry considers radical. Radiohead co-manager Bryce Edge: “It’s perfect timing for the band’s current world tour.”

Warner/Chappell SVP Jane Dyball: “(The model) has offered the band a whole spectrum of innovative ways to digitally distribute and promote their album, whilst providing all their licensees with a nimble service on terms set in consultation with the group and their management.”

(Photo Angela N, some rights reserved)