Very astute article. Seems like the labels want to close the door on discovery, since they view discovery as cannibalising profits. I’m sure they’ll finally find a model without the word “free” in it and everyone will hate it.
Beatport, which I use on a regular basis, seems to have found a good compromise on the existing model: radio/demand hybrid for discovery, proper shopping experience for purchasing tracks.
The main problem as a consumer is finding a service where you don’t feel like you’re getting soaked and all the money just gets shovelled to the labels or greedy mega-artists. CDs, which were a literal gold mine for labels, have left a bad taste in the mouth of the average consumer, who was all too aware that they were being ripped off. $20 for an album these days is just unimaginable.
I think the future is a return to radio-like experiences, but with the advantage of modern technologies enabling seamless purchase experiences and automatic curation. Or maybe it’s huge expensive generic services like Tidal! Who can say?!