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Less Money, Mo' Music & Lots of Problems: A Look at the Music Biz

This article from Redef, (a site that has a great newsletter) gives a great insight into the changes in the business.

Lots of great graphs that make it very clear about changes in the business.

Here is the biggest point that really blew me away.

  • The most popular artists have seen their primary income stream, recorded music sales, collapse by more than 70% in inflation-adjusted terms since 2000 (~$14B), while their concert revenues have increased by "only" $600M (or 32%)
  • Meanwhile, independents the vast majority of whom never generated significant revenue from physical sales are making considerably more from concerts than at any point in recent history (+$3.2B, or +1,150%) and capturing an increased share of what recorded sales remain

It makes astute observations about the future. Having attended the AIR Awards last night and seeing how indie labels are driving innovation and ways of rewarding artists and labels are changing I have plenty of hope. It must be difficult for labels to make a living, but by supporting each other the business can prosper and find a way for musicians and those involved to continue to make a living doing the thing we love.

I heard a documentary about this book (pdf here) and whilst yet to read this book, it is amazing to think that this book predicted the end of the music business as it stood in the 1970's.

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