Introducing the Virtual Streaming Network Operator (VSNO) concept before it’s actually here


Streaming is booming in both the music and the movie industry. The big players Amazon, Apple and Google are battling it out with Netflix and Spotify. Facebook and Microsoft are currently absent in the market. In music, Deezer and Tidal are fighting for market shares. Even the DIY platform SoundCloud launched a global library with the same global music library as the others. There are not huge differences between the music services. They basically offer the same (except Bandcamp that has a totally different – and awesome – business model), where price and platform are mostly identical, but look and feel are a little different. Some services have introduced premium versions with Hifi.

Once the big players have settled with the usual global Big 5 (or less) being dominant in the market, I envision a resurgence of music streaming with high street flagship stores and local indie shops as we used to know them from the physical world in the old days.

The high street shops will market the chart music from radio and mainstream press and the indie shops will market the alternative music known from podcasts and blogs. They will each curate and market with music with their own storefronts, but using the same back end from one of the big players. Everybody will benefit from this. Please read on.

The business model will be similar to the local MVNO mobile companies that tap into one of the telephone companies in the specific market introducing their own brand and services. The MVNO market is a huge business. But why will people choose an operator offering the same – or maybe even less – of the content of a big, global player, you ask?


First of all, very few people are interested in all the music available. Many music fans just listen to classical music, opera or jazz music. Fans will go to the services that are catering specifically for them and not everything for everybody, where the costumer do not feel special. Costumers want something else just for them. They want to be spoiled.

There are many other factors. Price can always be one, but I predict high quality in usability, curating, marketing and social to be important parameters. Also, never underestimate the coolness and trendiness of a brand. Many music fans will feel better entering their local indie shop listening to their favourite blog stars without knowing that the actual back end is powered by Spotify.

Politically, it will also be a way for big tech to open up for competition before EU will force them to do it like we have seen in France and Ireland for TelCos. The U.S. has more than 300 MVNO’s and Germany more than 100. How many record shops are left in those countries? This is a way for them to reopen for business!

I wrote this blog article listening to Johnny Jewel’s ‘The Other Side of Midnight’.

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