As the digital revolution continues to enforce widespread changes on the music industry, the CEO of the Australian Recording Industry Association, Dan Rosen, is adamant that they can evolve with the times. In particular ARIA plans to jump onto the streaming bandwagon that has emerged over 2012. Not only is an official ARIA streaming chart in the making, but an endorsed Spotify app is on the way too.

Inspired by the the UK’s Official Charts Company launching their own streaming chart in early May, after recognising an increasing shift to listeners accessing music digitally. ARIA will soon followed suit to collate date from the huge influx of streaming services here in Australia. Not just Spotify but Rdio, Deezer, JB Hi-Fi NOW and Mog as well, all which launched in 2012 into what has become a competitive market.

Despite the various services tussling to be the top digital music service, Rosen says that their work with these local streaming services “is a very co-operative process,” taking time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Tone Deaf and discuss the future of music. 

Tone Deaf: How has the progress been on putting the ARIA streaming chart together?

Dan Rosen: We are working with each of the various music streaming services that have entered the local market to acquire the data necessary to produce a weekly ARIA Streaming Chart. This is not a simple process, but one which the streaming services have been extremely helpful with and we look forward to launching before the end of the year.

TD: An ARIA app for Spotify is also in development. Have you thought about developing for other services? Or partnering with them? 

DR: We are extremely excited about the launch of an ARIA Charts App on Spotify where music fans will be able to countdown and listen to the ARIA Charts each week. This is certainly an initiative we would look at exploring with other streaming services if the right opportunity arose.

Niv Novak, Managing Director for SONOS – a company that focuses on developing affordable high-end wireless speakers, designed to work in conjunction with digital music and streaming services – has unequivocally said that they “believe all audio content is going to be streamed in the future.”

A bold statement, but give that physical sales are on a much reported decline, with many making the shift on line, the future of the music landscape is littered with both great opportunities and difficult questions. How will music be charted? Will there still be a place for physical formats? Rosen is diplomatic about the future of both physical and digital formats.

TD: Do you agree that streaming is the future of music?

DR: The advent of streaming services is an exciting development for our industry and one which we are very proud of as the music industry continues to lead the way in embracing new business models for the digital age. However with physical products such as CDs and vinyl still making up over 50% of the market and digital downloads accounting for the majority of digital revenue, it is too early to say whether streaming will be the future of music.

TD: Is it a question of consumer choice?

DR: The most encouraging outcome of the various streaming services entering the market is the amount of choice Australian music fans now have when it comes to consuming music. They can go to their local record store and browse through aisles of CDs and vinyl, download music from the convenience of their home or workplace or stream music on-the-go.

There has never been a better time to be a music fan in terms of ease of access and range of options to get the music you love.

TD: Moves to introduce an ARIA streaming chart reflect the rising popularity with streaming services and digital distribution; and in the UK recently, digital sales outstripped physical sales for the first time ever. Do you think there is a future for music in a physical format?

DR: There will always be a place for music in the physical format, as many music fans still enjoy and want the tangible experience of entering a record store, talking to an expert and leaving with a physical product they can hold in their hands, show their friends and generally have a physical connection with the product.

TD: If you accept there is an inevitable decline in physical sales, how will that affect ARIA’s traditional charts system? Ie. A measurement based on the shipping of units.

DR: ARIA Charts have continued to evolve over time with the advent of digital music and it will be no different with streaming services. We will start with a stand-alone Streaming chart before eventually integrating those figures into the broader singles chart.

Tracking what’s actually being paid for is all well and good, but there’s still the vast amount of music that’s illegally shared and downloaded in the digital realm. Music piracy has remained a hot topic in the headlines since what seems like forever, but Rosen is positive about the ease and accessibility of streaming services in helping stem the pirates’ tide.