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JANUARY 8, 2005:

Look at the high-yield niche markets that are now, finally, reachable using digital technologies. Promote and pursue diversity, not one-sound-fits-all. Take the emphasis off the good old “three artists selling 15 million tracks each” model, and look at the idea of 100 artists selling 250,000 tracks each and filling large concert halls. How about custom CDs and DVDs for niche-music markets, dedicated online (and cable) radio services, customizable music subscriptions? Without a doubt, the future of music is rooted in giving the consumer what (s)he wants, in utter transparency and open collaboration, and with a deep understanding of the need to provide services that are user-friendly and accessible everywhere. For music fans, consumers and “users,” the future is bright, no ifs or buts. We will finally get the choices we want, at the price we want, when and where we want – and our needs will drive the business rather than be subjugated to corporate agendas. For the Creatives, the artists and writers, the immediate future may initially bring some real headaches due to the uncertainty and insecurity that will remain for the next two to


three years. But once the transition to “digital music” is in full swing, the creators will have easier access to their precise target markets, more transparency in business matters, more avenues of exploitation (and at very low cost), and a bigger pie to split up. Endure the transition phase and they will enjoy some new windfalls! For the industry, we will witness a complete change of the guard during the next three years, with a new boom in digital music that will ultimately compensate for the recent misery caused by the slump in CD sales – if we let it happen! The roles and rules will change drastically, however. Few of those revered traditions will stay intact, and many of the existing players won’t enjoy the music business anymore. Still, if you can adapt to the new business models, the future will be exciting as well as financially rewarding.

The future is already here – it’s just unevenly distributed.” - William Gibson