Beats, the headphones people, will soon launch a new subscription music service (currently codenamed "Daisy") that promises to turn the whole idea of streaming upside down. Mark Mulligan has a few thoughts about what Daisy might (or at least should) do in Music Industry Blog.
Beats’ codenamed Daisy subscription service has been getting a puzzlingly large amount of coverage for a service that isn’t even launched yet. Beats’ Jimmy Iovine has somewhat smartly positioned Daisy as a challenger in a dysfunctional market in which the incumbents are portrayed as flailing around, unable to even understand what the big issues are, let alone try to solve them. Discovery, transparency, reporting, these are all great issues that do need addressing but they are also the exact issues Spotify et al are all busy trying to fix right now. The fact they haven’t points to the complexity and scale of the problems, and also the limitations of what any one music service can achieve on its own.
But rather than get distracted by the grandstanding and hyperbole (from all sides) it is worth taking a look at the what the next generation of music subscription service could look like, building upon some of the challenges that are faced today. These could be done by any streaming service, but they are also all natural extensions of Daisy’s already unique set of assets and DNA. These features are:
Artist Led Discovery: one of the big issues with streaming services is that they subjugate the artist brand. In the single or album model (physical or digital) the fan is seeking out an artist specific experience. With streaming services the value proposition is all the music in the world so the artist brand and relationship is inherently diluted. So the next generation of music subscription service will be a confederation of artist sub-sites, combining the benefits of vast catalogue with mainstaining artists’ profile. Back in the day, MySpace understood the value of unifying disparate artist specific communities with portal-like navigation. So in the next-generation service you will still be able to use traditional tools like searching by genre, but you also follow individual artists. This, combined with Spotify artist app-like experiences would give Daisy a genuinely unique take on streaming discovery and navigation.