My guest on the show this episode is Justin Barker, Founder/Director of Slice Music, a UK based streaming and content consultancy. He is also the Director of Streaming Strategy, Global Artist & Label Services for PIAS, and previously held curational and operation digital roles at Universal Music Group dating back to 2006. Justin has been riding the edge of the streaming music wave for a decade, and has a unique perspective on the history and evolution of the streaming music space.
After more than 15 years of destruction and decline in the music business, there is a glimmer of hope again. Even as physical product and digital download sales continue to whither, the explosive popularity of streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music have brought growth back to an industry that’s been shrinking for so long, it almost forgot the meaning of the word. On-demand Subscription streaming music services have been around for a long time. Rhapsody launched way back in 2002, and current King of the Mountain, Spotify, launched in 2008. It’s really hard to survive as a standalone music service, and many players have either shut down or been acquired and absorbed into other entities. Spotify has over 40 million paying subscribers, but lost 200 million dollars on revenues of 2 billion in 2015. Despite the challenges, new services are being introduced by Amazon and iHeartRadio, and Pandora is offering an expanded pay service. Each of these services must find a way to differentiate themselves from the other players in the space; to win the favor of potential subscribers. But they’re not just competing with each other, they’re competing with YouTube, which is arguably the world’s biggest streaming music service - and YouTube is free.
How content is promoted and consumed on Spotify is evolving at a lightning pace. Adapting to these ongoing changes has proven challenging for many labels and artists. Justin’s here to kick around some history with us and shine a light into the playlist mists.
Slice on Twitter: twitter.com/slice_musicuk
Nicolas Jaar: nicolasjaar.net
Jim's Spotify Playlist: open.spotify.com/user/trickness/p…rRgZnEAPBk8zsu4J