Google formally launched its streaming music service at this year’s I/O Conference on Wednesday. The service, called All Access, is an attempt to challenge Spotify, but there are plenty of artists worried about who stands to lose in a future where individuals pay subscription charges for access to a songs collection instead of dishing out small sums to download songs.

The songs sector has actually been the canary in the digital coal mine considering that the subsiding days of the Discman, and the hand-wringing over streaming mirrors a comparable panic over how the shift to MP3s would damage the music sector. (In retrospect, that panic seems quite well warranted.) By many accounts, it simply worsens away.

Silicon Valley is betting on streaming largely due to the fact that it’s about to get squeezed, too. On Tuesday, sector analyst Horace Dediu broke down the ways Apple earns money through iTunes. The revenue per user originating from music downloads is reducing considerably, both in dollar terms and as a proportion of general earnings. Last quarter, music downloads made up 27 percent of iTunes income, below 47 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

This reducing pie is barely an incentive to make more music, keeps in mind Dediu. “The inevitable result will be a mass migration of talent far from the developed content sectors. Old media won’t fade due to a loss of individuals. It will fade due to a loss of talent,” he composed.

That’s unless the cloud can change things. The pitch for artists and labels from Spotify (and, presumably, rivals such as Google) is that subscription services will replace the lost revenue from reduced downloads, which obviously never ever rather navigated to changing the income lost from plunging record sales. The business claims to have paid more than $500 million considering that its launching, with nobilities growing dramatically each year.

This has actually been met with skepticism from many people in the songs industry. The Internet runneth over with stories from artists talking about simply how little they are making from streaming. In one, folk rocker Damon Krukowski examined his own paychecks from cd sales and streaming services for Pitchfork. He concluded that a tune of his would need to be played 47,680 times on Spotify or 312,000 times on Pandora to earn the profit of a single LP sale.

Obviously, the music sector has a long tradition of separating a tune’s make money from its creators. Still, composed Krukowski, “the ways in which artists are screwed have changed qualitatively, from personalized swindles to systemic ones.”.

There are essentially two ways that the entry of companies such as Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) could change this. First, it might make streaming music more popular. If you’re making fractions of a penny each time a song gets played, the songs should get played a lot for you to make a living. In that respect, Google’s massive base of smartphone users is a quite attracting prospect for record labels and artists.

Big tech companies might also alter the balance of power in the music business. This is a sensitive subject: The wrangling over nobilities between record companies and Google and Apple has actually already held up the launch of their services. Still, it’s unlikely that record companies are visiting have the ability to bully these companies into paying more than Spotify does.

More likely, costs will keep falling, due to the fact that streaming songs is not a specifically good company today. As it grows, Spotify takes incrementally bigger losses. The business lost $59 million in 2011, although its revenue expanded by about 250 percent, according to PrivCo, a business that tracks personal companies.

Spotify’s rates must actually be seen as a kind of teaser cost for artists, due to the fact that the company wants to lose cash to expand for now, says songs industry expert Mark Mulligan. Both Spotify and Pandora (P) have been pushing had to get artists to accept less, he states, due to the fact that they simply can not earn a profit otherwise. And there’s little evidence that most of music listeners will ever before pay the $9.99 a month that Spotify requests its premium service. Google’s All Gain access to service is slated to cost the same, although everybody will get 30 days of open door, and those who register prior to June 30 will only be charged $7.99 regular monthly.