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Music biz under fire from Web

What happens when you don’t need record companies any more?

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The Internet is threatening to revolutionise the way the music industry does business, according to research from the City University business school. The study concluded that the digital music market will extend commercial opportunities to both the legitimate and criminal industries. Research by Jupiter Communications predicts Internet music sales will be worth £10.1 million this year, more than double last year’s figure of £4.8 million. The market is expected to grow even more rapidly in the next few years, will total online music sales in Europe rising from this years £54 million to £108 million next year, and over £600 million by 2003. Because of the accessibility of the Internet, many artists are already releasing material independently over the Web. One serious question raised by this trend is whether recording artists will need to distribute through record labels at all. If the music industry is to take advantage of this potential goldmine, it will have to answer what City University described as "soul searching" questions. ®

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