Digital Music Forum: Monetization still hard to come by

Everyone in the digital music "value chain" needs enough compensation, said Ted Cohen, managing partner of TAG Strategic and a long-time observer of the music scene. Cohen spoke today on a topic that's becoming an ongoing theme at the Digital Music Forum East in New York City.

Taking the stage soon after the conference opened this afternoon, Cohen divided the digital music constituency into several groups: artists, content owners, and service providers. Artists "want music to be their day job," said the music industry veteran.

"That only happens when they get paid," Cohen added, taking note of all the rock musicians forced to do odd jobs such as waitressing since they can't survive on music alone.

Content owners such as record labels and other digital rights holders are also looking for revenue streams that are reasonable and recurrent. "Through subscription services we can reach out to them," according to Cohen. Emerging mobile music services are now attracting the labels because of their "stickiness," he observed.

Service providers, on the other hand, are seeking "sustainable business models" for content access. Digital rights holders, though, need to make life easier for content owners by working in partnership and "trying to make [things] less painful," he contended.

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