I have written about the continuing decline of music sales, as well as the increasingly desperate measures labels are using to puff up their chosen ‘top stars’ by means that might land them in jail in other industries.
It has also always been clear that the industry hates digital music – and especially digital singles! This at the same time as consumers have increasingly shown a desire for digital music – and the ability to only buy the songs they want.
The impact of this cognitive dissonance is clear: consumers are being pushed in a direction they don’t want to go, and as a result sales are down. Rather than adapt, the music industry is suing grandmothers and pushing traditional pop artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry when more and more people are looking for alternatives like Manchester Orchestra, Deadmau5 and so on.
In a, we see how at the same time as digital music is taking off, overall revenues are shrinking. The music industry would blame piracy – because they are idiots with their heads in the sand.
Every year, digital keeps booming – but the pie keeps shrinking. And to illustrate the trend, here’s a year-by-year breakdown of physical and digital percentages, with the broader size of the pie scaled to overall recording industry revenues. These are US-based revenue figures supplied by the RIAA; figures in $millions.
The worst thing – with the ultra-branched networks every label has (this label is part of this group which is part of this company which is part of this “L”abel which is part of Warner Music Group or whatever), the music industry is better set up to service their customers than ever before. Blue Note Records as part of EMI has much more resources than they would as a true ‘independent’. Yet they are all constrained by the short-sightedness of their upper management.
What do you think would help the music industry grow again?