The Guardian ran a story a few weeks back on measuring success in the music industry, pondering the question: how we will be able to judge achievement if people won't pay for music?
The piece is actually an exploration of the various revenue streams in the business, focussing on the lucrative (yet unpredictable) synchronisation in TV and video games. The theory is that these deals can stimulate artist popularity, which drives album sales.
So ultimately their premise is still that success should be measured in sterling. Advertisers will pay six figures to license music - does this mean the track or artist is superior to one that has not been synched? If we are moving into an era where music could actually be free to the listener, surely this method is no longer valid?
Technology affords us the possibility of measuring success differently - the passion index. Last.fm demonstrates this perfectly - counting track plays from listeners around the world - even allowing the user to mark which tracks they love the most. With music, the more you love it, the more you listen - so isn't this the ideal indicator for success?
In an industry at the tipping point of change, its time the entire rule book was thrown out the window.