Robbie Williams’ manager Tim Clark has been talking about his concerns about free streaming music services, while defending the business model of Bloom.fm, the mobile music startup which he’s advising. “I wonder whether cheaper streaming subscription [services] might not encourage people to pay for music. I’m nervous about streaming services that allow people to think that music is free. It’s a problem,” he tells Music Week. Bloom.fm has a free personal-radio tier, but it’s trying to upsell people to £1, £5 and £10 monthly subscriptions. “People are fond of saying to me: if you do a £1 a month a subscription it’s just a dive to the bottom. Well, hang on folks, we’re already at the bottom: if statistics are to be believed, 70%-plus of all music is downloaded illegally for free,” says Clark. “It seems to me we’re avoiding the high volume/low margin at the expense of our industry. We should be going hell for leather for the high volume/low margin consumer. I can’t understand why people are ignoring the vast numbers of people that probably only ever bought a couple of CDs a year. Right now, they’re listening to streaming services and not paying anything at all.”

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