The Current State of the Music Industry

Posted: March 31, 2010 in Views
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This was a comment I left on an article by Will Bryant on Knocks from the Underground. The article talks about the pros and cons of music piracy/file sharing. You can read the original article HERE. I’ll also add that I’m not saying the independent artist’s path is easy. I know from experience that it can be very rough road.  I just don’t like the industry blaming everyone but themselves for their own failures. Anyway, here’s my three cents on the topic.

As a recording artist myself, I fully recognize the awkward state that the music industry is in today. In the age of MP3s and downloading, artists and labels simply have to adapt or suffer the consequences. Piracy only hurts major labels and their artists, those stuck in the old ways. For indies, file sharing offers the potential of acquiring more fans and in turn more sales. Also note the rhetoric – industry desk-huggers who see songs as potential money makers for the corporation call it piracy, while fans and sites that spread the music for the love of the art call it file sharing. It all depends on perspective and, for artists, how you want to use the situation to further your career.

BTW, “losing money” is misleading corporate language that the industry likes to use. You don’t take money away from labels and artists by downloading music for free, you just don’t give them any. If a major label has invested in an artist/album, it’s generally a whole package including concerts, merchandise, etc. If, in the long run, total revenue doesn’t match projected profit, obviously you need to change your business model. Don’t try to blame the fans, your customers, for your incompetence – you’re the business people. Once again, perspective and adaptation.

Through downloading and social networking, artists today have a more direct connection with fans and more personal resources to spread their music globally. By cutting out middle men, artists stand to make a bigger profit per unit. This means that more artists can enjoy success independently on a moderate amount of sales, enough to pay the bills and continue their careers without compromising their art. And this, I believe, is what the unchanging music industry fears the most: that soon, they may not be needed at all.

  1. […] and wildly contentious debate that see-saws between venomous finger-pointing and the spurts of hopeful thinking. Virtually the only thing both sides agree on is that the industry currently sucks, and each blames […]

  2. Joe Bill says:

    I agree with your analysis here. Have you actually made more sales from the peer to peer community? Less sales?

  3. jvb333 says:

    @ Joe: For me personally, sales have been about the same. I record an average of 100 songs a year, so I can afford to offer free downloads and consider it promotion. It doesn’t always translate into sales, but I definitely see an increase in interest. My goal is always to spend as little on promotion as possible – utilize downloads, Youtube videos and social media, therefore minimizing the costs I need to cover when trying to sell an album.

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