It’s been said that the music industry has changed during the last year, with streaming becoming one of the most important assets for labels and artists. So is there a place for leaks and MP3 downloads in 2014?
While net neutrality is a hot topic right now, we’ve already seen some big changes on the net recently – Especially when it comes to the music scene. Spotify became even bigger last year, with a record number of users signing up to their services. And this month we’ve seen Dr. Dre take his Beats brand and make a competitor to Spotify. Then we’ve got SoundCloud possibly striking deals with labels, Rdio not going anywhere soon and Pandora still being relevant, especially in the US.
So does this mean the death of the MP3? Apple, who’s the main supplier for music downloads, isn’t seeing any decrease in sales – Yet. I would argue that we’re moving our music into the cloud. Most listeners would rather have accessible music, and a huge library, than a local offline alternative. Even if it would mean that it would cost us a month fee or that the quality wouldn’t be as high as a quality download. Having friends over, and not being restricted to one persons library is a benefit which is difficult to ignore.
But what about album leaks? Fans will always be fans – If there’s a way to hear an upcoming album by your favorite artist early, it’s difficult to ignore and wait. There are still ways for an album to get leaked; By the artist, at the label, by a journalist or by someone working at a plant (even if manufacturing CDs will go away in due time). And looking at a site like Has it Leaked, you still see the huge demand for leaks, from the comments alone.
And there’s also the promotional aspect of leaking an album early – Especially from the hiphop community, where there are a number of examples where artists albums are getting delayed and the artists are getting hostile towards their own labels.
So no, I don’t see leaks decreasing this year. At least not the interest and demand for it.