Forrester Researches “End of Music Industry As We Know It”

The music industry is grinding through momentous change, though executives are increasingly eyeing a more diversified prize.

“The business is going to have to wake up and realize that recorded music sales are an ancillary business,” Irving Azoff recently told the New York Post.  That spells a difficult transition for major labels, and a land-grab for ambitious players like Live Nation.

In the earlier part of the decade, researchers offered highly optimistic outlooks on digital sales.  Now, that bullishness has become more realistic, and research groups are also embracing broader, 360-degree approaches.

Just recently, Forrester Research called for only modest recording revenues by 2012.  At that point, the group predicted that digital revenues will reach $4.8 billion, outperforming physical sales of roughly $3.8 billion.  “This is the end of the music industry as we know it,” said Forrester principal analyst James L. McQuivey.  Forrester predicted modest growth in subscription-based platforms to $459 million, and questioned the merit of ad-support upstarts like SpiralFrog and Qtrax.