Music Profitability in a Spotify World

In a bold attempt to boost sales and secure a tighter hold on the music industry, Apple Inc. has started negotiations with major record companies to provide exclusive albums through its iTunes store.

This model proved extremely effective when Beyonce’s surprise album dropped at the end of 2013 as an exclusive iTunes download; it quickly became the fastest-selling album in the online store. Offering it exclusively through iTunes means temporarily blocking the music from download on free music sharing applications such as Spotify.

A delayed music release window would be similar to the waiting period in movies—viewers who don’t want to see it in the theater have to wait months for the film to be released on DVD and Blu-ray. This limited—or at least delayed—availability model would likely cause a spike in download sales, especially for popular artists.

Declining record sales as a result of online streaming has been a point of concern since the days of Napster. Today, unchecked accessibility of their music puts artists in a tough spot: though their music is reaching a wider audience than ever, they could be missing out on the ability to monetize their efforts.

"These are really changing times, and I think everybody's going to be trying different things, whether it's iTunes, Spotify or the labels," said Irving Azoff, manager of acts including the Eagles and Christina Aguilera, in an L.A. Times article. "It's kind of up for grabs."

What does all this mean for music employee hopefuls? Nothing but good things, as executives from every corner of the music industry look for innovative ways to propel their companies forward. New opportunities for jobs in music will only continue to grow.

If you could see yourself working in the music industry, now’s the time to get started. There are hundreds of music jobs listed on, along with many other jobs in the entertainment industry.

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