I cannot be the first person to consider what the music industry will look like 50 years from now, but I am wondering where music sales will be considering that all music sales for the last 15 year or so has been in a format that is currently digital or easily digitized. Unlike previous years where the Vinyl album had a shelf life and only existed in one location, digital music last forever and can be replicated. Each household will effectively have a growing library that they can pass on to future generations … legally.
Every track from antiquity will lose value because each household will have ready access to more and more of these old MP3’s. Superficially I think this will have the effect of putting a greater premium on new music and basically making old MP3’s free or cheap. I now just wonder how the owners of these vast, old and expensive catalogues will continue to make money if in fact the value continues to fall. This is just an educated guess but the industry is going to have make their old libraries attractive by making them more available.
As an aside I think the Beatles need to consider making their songs available via MP3. As great as they are, they will become almost irrelevant in the next generation or so. As great as Benny Goodman (King of Swing) was in his day, there is not a lot of takers for his music today.