Friday, January 8, 2010

The Death of Everything (or The Music Industry Deathwatch, episode 3,421)

Don't want to get into recriminations and spats over whether or not the music industry deserves to die, or whether or not file sharing is the "new model" that we all just have to accept because that's what everyone is doing. Yes, many mistakes were made, major labels were extraordinarily greedy, stupid, sleazy, and vile, etc., but when I read an article like this, I can't help but be depressed. I like music and bands and LPs and CDs and record stores and music magazines and gigs and radio...

From The Times article:
For the year that ended on Sunday, a total of 373.9 million albums were sold in the United States, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. That is a 12.7 percent drop from 2008, and a 52 percent fall since 2000, as consumers have continued to turn from CDs to less profitable — and often illegal — forms of digital music.
“We keep introducing new models that provide less revenue and profit than the ones they are replacing,” said Russ Crupnick, an analyst with the marketing research company NPD Group. “One of the things we’re seeing as people start using Pandora, MySpace Music and other access models is that there is a clear cannibalistic effect on how many tracks they purchase on iTunes. They go to iTunes, find the Pandora app, and then buy a third less songs.”
“Sales are one thing, but music usage is through the roof,” Mr. Corson [general manager of the RCA Music Group] said. “So our challenge is to monetize that and turn it into some kind of legitimate business, rather than file-sharing, burning, etc. We do worry that we’ve lost a generation of consumers who are used to content for free, but there are lots of promising signs.”
One kinda bright spot:
One growth area for record labels and retailers alike is vinyl albums, which after nearly two decades of invisibility at major stores are now often featured as premium-price collectibles. Last year 2.5 million albums were sold on vinyl, up 33 percent from 2008. That is the most for vinyl since SoundScan began tracking retail sales in 1991, but vinyl remains less than 1 percent of all album sales.


David T said...

Nice happy post Steve!

Steve from Moon said...


Thanks! It is cold and dark here, so news like this fits in real well!


johnnyreggae said...

I was thinking about the demographic who might buy the record-selling youtube-phenom Susan Boyle CD, and is it wrong to say the target audience are those who wouldn't steal it, either because of old-model ethics, or wouldn't know how to steal it?

I got one for my retiree parents a month back, only because of a POP display at the grocery line made it so easy...

Steve from Moon said...


Thanks. I think you are absolutely right. This group of people grew up buying music, whether it was in 8-track, cassette, LP, or CD format. They like their music to be contained on something they can hold in their hands and file away on a shelf. And they are also probably far more technically adept that we suspect (i.e.: they know their way around iTunes and the internet), but file sharing just isn't their way.

As for their choice of artist/music--there are no excuses!!!