Industry analyst Forrester has just published its boldest report yet, setting out how it sees the distribution of music evolving. And how does it see it evolving? With the deployment of three broad “music release windows”, staggering releases for premium services, then mainstream retailers, and finally ad-supported services.So, in week one of a release, it’ll be made available to ‘Premium Club’ members through device makers, mobile operators and ISPs. That means people who’ve signed up for music bundled in with their mobile or broadband contracts. From week three, it’ll be made available through mainstream retailers: digital and physical retailers as well as radio. And finally, from week six, it’ll be made available through ad-supported music services.And beyond that, Forrester says that “the straitjacket of album format can now be shaken off and in its place releases can become part of a continual artist-fan relationship with artists delivering a steady stream of creative output.” That means backstage footage, cover versions, remixes, mobile apps… The stuff that artists and labels are already creating.”This is an MTV Moment in the digital age for the record labels,” blogs Forrester’s Mark Mulligan. “They only realized that music videos were a value commodity in their own right rather than just a promotional tool by the time MTV had established a successful business. Now it is time for them to learn the same lessons about added value content.”Thought-provoking stuff indeed.

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