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Topic: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

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  1. #1
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    Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    Here is quite an interesting chart: The REAL Death of the Music Industry.




    The chart shows revenue for various types of music products. The numbers are adjusted for inflation, and using "per capita" is a way to adjust for population.


    According to this, the average U.S. consumer spent $71 on music products in 2000 (the peak year). In 2009, that number declined to $26.


    This is quite a drop in music sales. Although downloads have grown,it doesn't seem enough to offset the loss of the physical equivalents of the past. Seems like a sea change in music is happening.



    What do you think is going on?


    Gary

  2. #2

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    It's easy to blame Napster, bit torrent, and other pirating systems for decreasing revenue; however, I think illegal downloads are a relatively minor piece of the revenue puzzle. Online hosts like Pandora, YouTube, and subscription music (Zune Pass, etc) are probably the reason for such steep revenue loss over the past few years.

    Also, technology has reached a point where a lot more aspiring musicians can produce music and publish it to the internet for free. The economic effect is that most of these musicians are more content with getting 1,000 views on YouTube or MySpace than a meager royalty from iTunes. Furthermore, the evidence in Gary's chart may indicate that most consumers would rather spend time online listening to these aspiring musicians than spend money on downloads or CDs.

    The original article states that the real issue is in the fact that people are buying singles instead of full albums, which is probably true, but that in itself may be more symptomatic of the growth of free music online and not simply online music stores like iTunes.

  3. #3

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    I fully agree with the above post by pcart... ,but I also need to add something:

    "Music" is a too broad term to include everything happening in music. If by music industry we mean 'recording industry', then yes there has been a decline. But if we are talking about the whole of music industry, then I'm not sure we have in front of us the full picture, which includes revenues from tutor books, scores, live shows and other. I'd dare to say that live shows and concerts have gone up, considerably (without having any real numbers in front of me though).

    Recording is NOT music for me (as I've said so in the past). When something is a canned show, there's no interest, and this holds quite some water in the recording instance. Take that along with broadband speeds on the Internet and youtube (myspace, soundcloud, last fm, pandora, etc), and you've got yourself a setting where you can listen to anything you want, for free or very cheap and that's about it!

    To be honest there are a few people who seem to complain a lot about the situation, but these are few and spared out...

    (And hey... the word 'copyright' and 'piracy'/'pirates' didn't make it into my post until now! YAY!)

  4. #4
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    Well, the matter may be strongly influenced by economics. Most young people seem to prefer to spend their money on video games than music. What I have seen of the costs of the games and equipment tells me that there won't be much left over for music.

    Attendance at live performances is almost exclusively people over 40, mostly over 50, it seems to me. So explain that. Partly, I believe that there has been much propaganda preaching that classical music is only music by composers of 200 years ago, and no longer has relevance. Part of the blame may be schools not educating students to the changing musical currents.

    Lastly, music seems to be looked upon as a snob thing, or something to add to a travel agents package so travelers can say "I was at a concert of the Berlin Philharmonic".

    Richard

  5. #5

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    "death of the music industry" ONLY if one considers only the recording industry as "the music industry".

    that's like saying "death of the fashion industry" because of declining sales in the button manufacturing industry.

  6. #6

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    Let it die. Most of the stuff it promotes as "music" is total junk.

  7. #7

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    "death of the music industry" ONLY if one considers only the recording industry as "the music industry".

    that's like saying "death of the fashion industry" because of declining sales in the button manufacturing industry.

    Agree wholeheartedly. Much music of the commercial recording industry is uninteresting, formulaic and boring. It is possible that music education has been having some effect on the way younger people approach music and this is a positive thing. Perhaps commercial music (recording) is being "put in its place" - a correction that is long overdue.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  8. #8

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    That's quite a chart, Gary -

    Basically, it's another illustration of how we're in a time of major change, and we don't know what exactly will emerge. We're in an awkward transitional period between the traditional and the new. The internet continues to change everything, including the music industry, and probably the hallmark characteristic of the computer age is that the public has quickly become accustomed to having any and everything available either for free or at minimum cost. At this point, there's no way to go back to the way things used to be.

    There's an old adage that we don't value what we can get for free or cheaply as much as what we pay for. In theatre, I've noticed for years that when people are given "comps," complimentary tickets, they aren't as attentive and committed to getting the most out of their time watching a show. So part of what we see now is that people value music less than ever. We're surrounded by music, and to most people, it's just that stuff playing in the background, nothing of great importance - even when "that stuff" is truly good music that might be playing on their radios.

    Attendance is down for all the performing arts, with the average patrons being middle age and older. Younger people have parents who never acquired a taste for live concerts, except of the rock variety, and the vast majority of those parents have never seen a live play--so we're already seeing a lack of performing arts appreciation spanning more than one generation. Why go sit still to hear or see something that they can find online, and when they grab that recording of music or video, they can talk all through it if they want, go to the kitchen, go to the bathroom, pay very little attention to the art if they want. It's just Stuff - with great art and mediocre art blurred together - they can't tell the difference because they really never pay much attention.

    We may not hold a very high opinion of much of the music industry's music - but "serious musicians" have always had a low opinion of popular music. But it remains that there is a business side to the art form we're involved with, music, and we should be caring what happens to that industry.

    For a long time, recordings are how most people hear music - We can't write off recordings as not being music - Recordings Are music for the vast majority of people, and so it doesn't do us any good to insist we don't care about what happens with the recording industry since we're only interested in live performances - especially since only the tiniest percentage of composers will ever hear their music performed live.

    And so on.

    I have no crystal ball - I can't tell how it will all end. All I can see is that the way things have been is indeed coming to an end. --The musicians/composers who have managed to find ways to make a living in the current world, by writing music for commercials, video games etc - they're benefiting to having adapted to the way things are.

    Randy B.

  9. #9

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    There is a fantastic book about what may have brought this all about. It's entitled Hitmen: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Industry by Fredric Dannen - here at Amazon.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  10. #10

    Re: Discuss: Death of the Music Industry?

    Quote Originally Posted by reberclark View Post
    There is a fantastic book about what may have brought this all about. It's entitled Hitmen: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Industry by Fredric Dannen - here at Amazon.

    I'm sure the book is quite fascinating... on condition one subscribes to the definition of "music industry" as being the "pop music industry".

    I'm curious where this leaves the classical music world?

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