We live in a digital world -- digital is everything, but not everything is digital. Her music is recorded digitally. CDs are digital as are the millions of downloads she sold -- but no one says that being digital means giving it away for free or close to free.
It's not clear how the music labels will shake off the current subscription doldrums, but with Apple and streaming subscription growth front and center, you can bet they will do whatever it takes to build subscription sales, their big bet.
While they come from widely different backgrounds, all of these apps seek the same goals: grab an artist's audience, engage them, and monetize that engagement, digitally of course--with advertising, brand sponsors, "in app" purchases, or on rarer occasions, by selling recorded music.
While others wish to send the monster back under his bed, I won't. I want him to stay right out in front of our eyes. And I want critics to really turn an ear to their own sidestepping rhetoric.
Apple Music could have a future that more closely resembles music services from large tech titans like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft's Xbox Music. All of these have respectable if not game-changing digital music services.
It's not clear where all this plays out, but meeting many across the music industry this past year, I saw a clear picture of an industry trying to reinvent itself. And while labels still have an important role, the new equilibrium brings a healthy competitive balance to the market.