That year will be the “tipping point,” much like the mid-to-late ’80s when CDs overtook cassette sales. Once download sales became the norm, Byrne said, it will allow manufacturing and distribution costs to approach zero. “That is a fact,” he said.
He said at that point, record labels will be faced with a sort of choice — to ramp up marketing services to use music as a loss leader for tours and merchandise revenue, or aim only for international stars of the ilk of Britney Spears.
The tour angle was covered recently by Chris Anderson in a post titled “Give away the music and sell the show” – the economics of touring v. music distribution, if you don’t know the analysis, are startling.
One step at a time, the future of music is coming.
Update: Boing Boing has more here.