Jason Herskowitz is a core contributor and co-founder of Tomahawk, an open-source music platform that -- among other things -- creates a music aggregation and interoperability layer across music providers. He talks endlessly on Twitter about the industry, you can find him @jherskowitz. Billboard.biz welcomes responsible commentary -- contact email@example.com with ideas.
Google. Amazon. Samsung. Apple. If the various rumors and reports are to be believed, four of the biggest companies in the world are all preparing for battle in the subscription-music market. There they will meet: the industry darling (Spotify), the critically acclaimed (Rdio), the old-timer (Rhapsody), the internationally renowned (Deezer), the highly-anticipated (Beats), the living room invaders (Microsoft, Sony) and a host of others in the U.S. and abroad (Slacker, Qobuz, Rara, Simfy, WiMP). They will also be competing for market share against other music-consumption experiences from YouTube, SoundCloud, Grooveshark, Bandcamp, Pandora, Vevo, Songza, iHeartRadio, Ex.fm, direct-to-fan artist platforms, music blogs, the scores of white-labeled music services -- big and small -- powered by the platforms of 7digital and MusicNet, and let us not forget about piracy of all forms.
Why all the new interest from the “big boys” in a notoriously difficult business, with razor-thin margins, that has very few (if any) success stories in a sea of failures? As everyone following the industry is quick to point out, the music market is finally -- slowly -- transitioning from the "ownership" model (a.k.a. buying from iTunes) to the "access" model (paying a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to virtually anything).