The Music Business

The business model for the music industry is broken. People generally seem to have difficulty with the concept of paying for music. For example:

My world is music-centric. I’ve only bought 15 CDs in my lifetime. Yet, my entire iTunes library exceeds 11,000 songs.

Emily White’s post has been making the rounds in the music business. Emily will pay for hardware and Emily will pay for access. She just does not pay for music.

David Lowery provides a spirited response to Emily’s post. He highlights the following points:

Recorded music revenue is down 64% since 1999.

Per capita spending on music is 47% lower than it was in 1973.

The number of professional musicians has fallen 25% since 2000.

Of the 75,000 albums released in 2010 only 2,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. Only 1,000 sold more than 10,000 copies. Without going into details, 10,000 albums is about the point where independent artists begin to go into the black on professional album production, marketing and promotion.

He asks the current generation the following questions:

Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?

Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?

Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?

Kim Mitchell’s perspective:

So there really isn”™t much point these days, with people stealing songs online, and fewer and fewer albums being sold, other than the point that you enjoy making your art…

I have said this many times, and actually there was a bass player Joe Hardy, down in Houston, said there used to be a hundred bands selling a million records now there”™s a million bands selling a hundred records, so that”™s just the state of the industry now. A few pop artists got through, a few rock artists got through.

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