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The Music Industry - 'State Of Play' Have your say on what's good, bad or ugly about the global Music Industry in the 21st Century

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12th July 2008 , 06:31 PM
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Question Music Sales - Physical Vs Download Era's

So, we all remember 10/15 years ago (well, most of us), vinyl was ubiquitous, CD sales where healthy, people used to 'go' to a record store as part of their shopping experience, 'Big' records stood out and were sought after and talked about, a 'new' artist came along every so often and mostly everyone new about it.. One radio play could create a buzz so strong, the artist or remixer would get a good career off that airing. Also, records were, financially, harder to make (record, produce, mix, distribute, promote..)..

Fast forward to today..
Millions of songs available free to download on peer2peer sites, legitimate purchases enable 'cherry picking' from the album concept, sourcing music has never been easier with just a few mouse clicks, the actual 'sound quality' of source material (MP3) has gone backwards instead of forwards with audio technology evolution, there are so many bands, so many artists, so many tracks, SO much choice, that finding music that you might actually 'really' appreciate may now indeed be more difficult, record labels seem less in control, the 'artist' seems more in control, recording technology affordability and a multiplicity of online and 'to air' broadcast radio stations can give a kid in a bedroom a mainstream radio play of a piece composed and produced on a sub 500 computer system, the public can seemingly have everything the want musically in abundance and with instant gratification, bands are giving away their music and instead looking to revenue from major tours.. it goes on...

The burning question is... Was it better for us music makers and the general public who buy into our brand, THEN..or NOW?
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Old 15th July 2008 , 12:06 PM
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almost on topic, but do you notice how many of the compilation discs from "Ministry of Sound" et al. are mearly redoing songs from 10-15 years ago?
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Old 15th July 2008 , 02:25 PM
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ive noticed that too nick but i think one of the main reasons there using old songs is because the liscencing of each track will be cheaper the new ones and also the fact that if your under 20 years old these songs will be new too them because when they first came out they were only babys.
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Old 15th July 2008 , 02:51 PM
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Let's get back to the original question that 'cut N paste' raised chaps..
Is it a better state and playing field for us as artists/producers and the music consumer, now, or say 15 years ago..?
"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.."
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Old 15th July 2008 , 04:59 PM
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Now, it's all about the consumer. As a species, we're quite lazy and impatient, so the majority want to listen to what they want when they want it, and if they don't have to leave the house, so be it. Digital sales are increasing because it's cheaper than CDs (due to less expenditure on distribution and materials), it's very easy to do now, and because a song can be downloaded in seconds whilst it can take 10-20 mins to go to your local music shop, find what you want, and come back. I only buy CDs still because I like holding a physical copy, and the artwork that comes along with it.

It's also easier for the consumer to find new bands that they like. For instance, through my Last.fm account, I've stumbled across a couple of bands that I like that I necessarily may not have found without it. Pandora Radio was also another site that played recommendations based on artists you like (shame that they recently made it US-only). This boosts consumer knowledge of a band, builds them a fanbase, and could potentially make them more successful.

MP3 was also designed as a compression method for audio files whilst hard drives struggled to hold more than 20GB of memory. With 1TB hard drives coming out at cheaper prices, I think the real audiophiles will keep their songs in lossless formats without fear of using up too much memory space, whilst the majority will carry on using MP3s.

For the musician, it's easier to get songs out there now, and to get recognized. Whilst many aspire to get signed to big labels. But, there are those that don't trust the bigwigs at the firms fully. Typically, it takes a year or so in order for artists to receive royalties for records sold, and even then they only get a share as it is used to pay others in the company involved as well. So, there are those who hold back and make their own labels in order to control their own copyrights. And it's always really been the case that artists make most of their money at gigs selling T-shirts and memorabilia.

Even those established bands that started to give their music away untraditionally are doing well because of it. Radiohead reportedly received more money than they did through their In Rainbows release then they did from any of their other album releases. NIN released The Slip earlier this year absolutely free of charge, and I know a couple of people, myself included, who are now fans because of this.

So given all this, I would say that things are better now than they were.
"The day we start thinking about what the audience wants we're going to make bad choices" - Andrew Stanton
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Old 20th July 2008 , 01:46 PM
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I feel it's definitely better now.

For too long Record labels held the monopoly (And still do in many ways) however, the mainstay is that artists can get their material out there themselves.
For years talent has been overlooked by Um&R guys paid a fortune for signing the wrong stuff.
They've paying for it now with massive job losses as the coporate axe was weilded.

Top quality files can be purchased upon request with an MP3/4 acting as a sampler and although the end result (MP3) is not as 'top notch' qaulity wise as say a cd 10 years ago was, the production and mastering software available these days makes up for it with the actual tunes themselves being a lot more 'polished' then they ever could've been back then.
Have a listen to Ce Ce Penistone's 'Finally' again, listen with production ears and compare it to todays production, it's sounds almost amateur by comparison.

*Runs before he hears gun fire*
iceHouse Project www.myspace.com/icehouseproject
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Last edited by iceHouse Project; 20th July 2008 at 01:48 PM. . Reason: spelling <
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