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Great article. This articulates what I've been thinking for awhile much better than I could. I definitely agree with the assessment of the average music listener as someone who wants a bunch of "play buttons" and I think the fader concept, which allows a user to indicate how much familiarity they want in a given playlist (or even at a given moment), is brilliant. Reaching this audience is key. I've always argued that use of on-demand streaming subscription services will eventually be widely adopted and while I still feel that statement is accurate, I now understand that the subscription services that finally do appeal to the masses will be different from those that we use today. I don't think they will be drastically different, but adding features that appeal to the masses will be more prominent.

Moreover, ever since I began using on-demand subscription services, I have thought the next step in services for music fanatics willing to spend time "mining" for good new music is adding a human element. In other words and anecdotally speaking, I can't get what I'm looking for with a search query or by following 'similar artists' or genre recommendations (although those are good and a valuable development in their own right). But, if I could communicate with a knowledgeable music expert, I could quickly explain what draws me to one song and what I dislike about another and I'd be able to discover new music. What this is doing, in essence, is creating a dialogue between the consumer and the expert-employee. Which, if you think about it, is similar to people sitting around, listening to music and talking about it (albeit with different temporal aspects enabled by technology).

Lastly, I think the idea of more product integration in subscription services is a good one. Your focus on "friction" is well-placed. People today are so busy, or think they are so busy, that any obstacle to finding information or purchasing a product can be a deal breaker. However, the full integration you discuss--including lyrics, merchandise, concert tickets, biographies, etc.--involves many ownership rights and would be difficult to obtain I imagine.

Most importantly, this article lays out the key product/service features and the obstacles to wide adoption. I'd love to see another article discussing the actual implementation of these ideas within a product/service context, specifically the acquisition of rights issues because my background in entertainment law and music business focuses on just this.

Thanks for writing and keep up this great work!


I agree that most people don't really care deeply about music - they just want to be spoon-fed. So, curating is a way to go, but it has to be carefully done, or the casual listener will most certainly tune out fast. And $5 bucks/mo. may seem like a sweet spot, but most people I know don't spend a dime on music listening, haven't for years. And, on another note, $5.00 per month for all you can eat music may be wonderful for the consumer. Not so wonderful for the artist. So-called "subscription services" are basically legal versions of pirate sites. There is no statistical difference between what an artist gets from a legal service and from a pirate site. The artist - esp. the indie artists, 99% of the music industry - will perpetually remain in a negative financial position. Daisy is a "next-gen" obvious move, but, for example, what does this mean for privacy issues for the consumer? All of her information will be cobbled together across many platforms. Maybe it's an issue, maybe not. But it should be addressed. Maybe I don't want my email captured so I can be inundated with endless email, offers, updates from the few hundred artists I may listen to on Daisy. Well, as the article states, let's wait and see what happens......


"Casual listeners often want music to beanything but those things; they are way too busy working and studying. " Therein lies the rub. Yet another problem that doesn't need solved, or the problem being stated is so over the top hyped it becomes a meme. "Hey, we are going to solve Music Discovery". Curation! ....

You can't invest upwards to 1 Billion Dollars in an industry (12+ streaming/music companies), and expect a return on that investment that pays the artists, and makes money. This effort and others fail to realize, the majority of people are not music snobs or music people, who think you are cool if you listen to .fun but not Taylor Swift.


People also just don't care about those "i'm cool cuz i listen to or discovered blah blah blah" badges anymore. The internet is too wide open, provides too many choices to think some myopic "funnel" that will expose all the music that someone should care about is the next "it" thing or will make money.

Brian Hazard

Fantastic article Kyle! You've done an excellent job of explaining why I'm perfectly happy with Spotify, but can't get my friends to bother trying it. They're too busy listening to the same stuff they listened to in high school.

Tony Hymes

"Daisy Chain: Dying Music Industry Sprouts New Hope," this headline is alarmist at best, shortsighted at worst, and does no justice to the depth of the analysis put forth in this piece by Mr. Bylin. In breaking down the various streaming services, Mr. Bylin has merely combined what is missing and applied them to what he hopes the future Daisy will become. Considering the relatively low subscription numbers of the existing services in the US, and the fact that listeners are not going to be willing to pay for two unlimited music subscriptions, I am curious to know how another option -- in this case Daisy -- will "sprout new hope" for the "dying" music industry.

Mr. Bylin knows that the music industry is not dying, it's better than ever. Take one look at the success of LiveNation and LiveNation Labs. Are the three major labels are facing declining physical music sales revenue? Sure. Do people don't want to pay the same amount for music? Sure. Do price wars between subscription services hurt artists? Sure. But more and more music is being produced everyday, with more options for artists and more options for listeners. True talent shines through, and wins more often than the system before that was dominated by marketing for Top 40. This false notion of a "dying" music industry only serves to accelerate arguments for change, and is entirely unnecessary when used to frame an intelligent analysis of what an ideal streaming service would look like.

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