The music industry has been warned that single tracks could be reduced to simply marketing tools used to drive merchandise sales, according to a music industry expert.
Terry McBride, a founder of Canadian label Nettwork Music Group with a stable of artists including Avril Lavigne, makes the claims in a report for a think tank on the future of music marketing.
In the report for Music Tank, he says that fans are not concerned with copyright and intellectual property rights and will always download music free if they can.
He says/ “A fan’s emotional affiliation with a piece of music will always take precedence over mundane legal concerns.”
He adds that free music will “become an up-sell technique for other music-related products, such as concert tickets, clothing, music or artist-branded products.”
He also claims free music will become more available as ad-funded services take off.
“As traditional ad outlets shrink in worth to advertisers, and more effective online, mobile, and ad-techniques are developed, the bulk of advertising money will shift in the digital ecosystem,” he says.
But he adds that brand tie-up will be key as the “lifestyle and attitude” of an artist is a saleable commodity.
McBride adds that online social networks turn fans of an artist into a “virtual storefront” for them, and that technology has revolutionised the distribution model.