By the end of 2009 we might have a better idea of what exactly is going on in the digital world. When we can eventually analyse the accounts of record labels (a task I'll leave to someone more qualified)we might start to understand where the future is - whether it is downloads, physical product or streaming. Until then we have opinion and conjecture.
Published reports/features eminating from Sweden suggest that streaming is starting to take over. This feature from Swedish Wire states clearly that the Swedish arm of Universal is already earning more from Spotify than it is from itunes.
It seems like a bold statement, and others have their doubts. I imagine a few accountants in artist-management offices are very eager to see those account spreadsheets and royalty statements.
Spotify is of Swedish origin and Swedish Wire clearly likes to celebrate Swedish success, some of which may be due to recent Swedish legislation aiming to crack-down on downloaders and file-traders. With the UK Government suggesting similar enthusiasm for a crack-down perhaps the same will happen here - on the day after the legislation came into force Sweden noted a 30 per cent fall in web-traffic. Possibly the file-traders were spending their day trying to find the loop-holes.
As I indicated last week (below), I fear that artists now hold the key to Spotify's future. Its success in the home-market may be an indicator of future trends, or it may just be a red rag to the big bulls in the artist community.
2 days ago