Industry analyst ABI Research has published a report into ‘mobile cloud-based music streaming services’, claiming that there will be 5.9 million subscribers to these services by the end of 2011, rising to 161 million in 2016. “The biggest winners from these developments are likely to be consumers, and the vendors and the service providers enabling these new models, such as Rhapsody, Melon and Spotify,” claims ABI’s statement. It also predicts that labels will benefit from the boom in cloud subscriptions, but expects a more mixed picture for artists: “It will be more difficult to make a living by selling recorded music, but the barriers to wide product distribution are falling fast.” ABI also expects rightsholders to lower their royalty demands. “Record labels and collecting societies should not overplay their hands when it comes to royalty issues. If consumers do not have convenient and affordable legal alternatives, they will simply enjoy their music by other means.”

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