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The conventional mainstream music business was always a really bad solution for the majority of artists ('Pop' music became essentially a definition of music that doesn't really matter) and the truth of that is really apparent when, after like 60 years of that evolution of that business model, its near total demise has left the artists with a situation as though the business never existed -60 years of music making culture is now comercially stunted and business is now almost entirely in the hands of the artists themselves. Now, of course total artistic control has always been a goal for the creators, but there is no way to really centralize a business and marketing model that would bring consistent and decent profits. The mainstream comercial business was centered on the sales of whole LP/cassette/CD's but now the market reality is the consumers just buy single downloads. And for the artists to have to fall back on just live gigging is to be condemned to one of the harshest commerical working environments and routines a working person can take on. The overall bad outcome, according to statistics, people on average now listen to and buy far less music than in the past, before the internet. One good thing though, with ultracommercial corporations pushing less music on the public and with the internet there is an amazing expansion in the actual making of the music, and the diversity of kinds of music. Yes, there are still some large, plodding record labels out there but their relevance and viability have been so reduced there is no way for them to escape the fact that it is so apparent now they work with ideas that come from a time when we knew less.
Some up to date statistics on world recorded music sales.
Excerpts from the artilce:
Global recorded music revenues fell 8.4% last year, about $1.45bn, to $15.9bn according to the annual Recording Industry in Numbers report by international music industry body the IFPI.
Overall physical sales, the term used in the industry for sales of products such as CDs, fell by 14.2% year on year to $10.4bn.
Digital revenues grew by 5.3% year on year to $4.6bn to account for 29% of all recorded music revenues (but that is a 5.3% increase against an 8.4% overall decline). However, the rate of digital revenue growth has halved year on year as the industry continues to struggle with piracy and winning consumers over to legal download models.
The world's two largest markets, the US and Japan, took a hammering last year accounting for 57% of the total global decline in trade revenues. In 2009 the two countries accounted for 80% of the global decline.
In the US overall sales fell by 10% with physical sales down 20% to just over $2bn and digital sales stagnating with 1.2% growth to $2bn. Japan saw an overall market decline of 8.3% with the report noting that "rapidly rising online is threatening the development of the digital market".
Of the major markets ranking in the top 20 by size, just three saw year-on-year sales increases with Korea up 11.7%, India up 16.5% and Mexico up 0.9%.
-So.... humans are buying and listening to less music now than ever before the internet, and the only growing markets are Korea, India and Mexico.