The following post is written by Special Guest Author: Mark of Soundista.com
The Death Of Music?
According to CNN Money, music sales between 1999 and 2009 were cut in half. The actual numbers were $14.6 billion in 1999, versus $6.3 billion in 2009. That steep decline is symptomatic of what some see as the end of the music industry as we know it. There is a question as to whether this is really a bad thing for artists, however.
Money and Music
The type of statistics referenced above are not hard to find. Digital sales, for instance, have cut into a huge chunk of CD sales and the entertainment industry blames piracy for losses of revenue on music sales, to some extent. Music is widely available for free on the Internet—sometimes legally, through streaming music stations and so forth—which means that people may be less motivated to buy a $20 CD to get the one track they like if they can hear it most any time they want.
Whether you view the way the music industry has changed as liberation of the art from the hands of the corporations that used to be so much more profitable at distributing it or an unbearable hardship on musicians, the fact remains the same: music isn’t worth what it used to be worth, at least to large companies. Sometimes, decline in one industry gives a rather skewed view of what’s actually going on.
Forbes reported in an article in 2012 that, in 2008, there were 106,000 new albums released compared to 38,000 in 2003. Quite simply, there’s been more music out there than there has in the past. Not all of it is coming from large record companies, however, as the tools required for recording and production have become less and less expensive and has more musicians have started releasing their albums on their own.
Live Still Rocks
The same Forbes article reports that, between 1999 and 2009, the sales of concert tickets in the US market was on a healthy upward trajectory. In fact, it was something beyond healthy. The sales went from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion. Concerts have always been huge parts of how musicians make their livings and, going by these figures, things were three times as good in 2009 as they were in 1999, at least in terms of concert attendance.
Different is Not Dead
The music industry is much different than it used to be, that is for certain. In the past, musicians sent demos to every record company they thought would sign them. If one of the record companies showed an interest, the musician could rely on their support for marketing, promotion and so forth, but, without a label, it was very hard for independent artists to develop a presence on the market. Today, it’s as easy as opening up a Facebook page, uploading some MP3s to a distribution site and having a web page. These are all things that the average band could take care of in the space of a couple of days, rather than spending years playing in taverns, clubs and other venues, hoping that they got noticed.
The Forbes article also reported that the revenues for digital music players, advertising and in other categories has jumped up over the years.
The record companies may be faltering, but that does not mean a decline in music as an art form or, in fact, as a commercially viable art form. The industry itself has changed, however, and today that seems to mean that CDs may not be selling well, but more music is out there and bands still have ways to make money.