The imminent launch of video-streaming service Disney+ has put the cat among the pigeons in the TV and film worlds, in terms of the competition it provides to services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Mark Mulligan, boss of consultancy firm Midia Research, thinks we may need a similar thing in music.
“We have a streaming market in which each leading service has the same catalogue, the same pricing and the same device support,” he wrote in a blog post. “Compare this to video, where global rights are fragmented across dozens of networks. This means that TV rights holders have not been able to dictate (i.e. slow) the rate of innovation, resulting in dozens of different niche services, a plethora of price points and an unprecedented apogee in TV content… The music streaming market could really do with a similar rocket up its proverbial behind right now. The ‘innovation’ that is taking place is narrow in scope and limited in ambition. Adding podcast content to playlists, integrating with smart speakers and introducing HD audio all are important – but they are tweaking the model, not reimagining it. Streaming music needs an external change agent to shake it from its lethargy.” That said, the direct equivalent of Disney+ (a major rightsholder launching its own streaming service and taking its content off existing DSPs) seems unlikely: but it might be fun to see some analysts asking Vivendi execs, next earnings call, whether UMG might ever have the appetite for this.