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Lionel Laurent

Spotify Needs to Profit From a Music Revolution

More disruption beckons as streaming growth slows and platforms struggle to make money.

The future of music?

The future of music?

Photographer: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

Music matters to the wider economy. It was one of the first industries to be disrupted by the internet, and the first to repackage itself as all-you-can-eat rather than all-you-can-steal. The status quo has been the norm for a while: Napster was wound down two decades ago, its nemesis Metallica embraced streaming platforms more than a decade ago, and Spotify Technology SA’s subscription prices have stayed around $9.99 for years.

It’s time to think about the potential for radical change. For one thing, if this is the endgame for music, it would be a sad state of affairs. The streaming economy is crushingly unequal. It’s great for consumers and for labels and rights holders that have identified ways to live off royalties, as well as the most-listened to artists such as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. It’s been less good for musicians lower down the ladder.