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The Music Industry's Crisis Writ Large

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the day-the-music-faded dept.

Music 554

The NY Times has an opinion piece that makes starkly clear the financial decline of the music industry. It's accompanied by an infographic that cleverly renders the drop-off. The latest culprit accelerating the undoing of the music business is free, legal online music streaming. "Since music sales peaked in 1999, the value of those sales, after adjusting for inflation, has dropped by more than half. At that rate, the industry could be decimated before Madonna's 60th birthday. ... 13- to 17-year-olds acquired 19 percent less music in 2008 than they did in 2007. CD sales among these teenagers were down 26 percent and digital purchases were down 13 percent. ... [T]he percentage of 14- to 18-year-olds who regularly share files dropped by nearly a third from December 2007 to January 2009. On the other hand, two-thirds of those teens now listen to streaming music 'regularly' and nearly a third listen to it every day."

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Let it die. (5, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921319)

The words 'music' and 'industry' were never meant to go together. Music should come from the heart, not the wallet. This idea that you can become wealthy by being a musician is a new one and we've suffered for it.

Re:Let it die. (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921385)

The words 'music' and 'industry' were never meant to go together. Music should come from the heart, not the wallet. This idea that you can become wealthy by being a musician is a new one and we've suffered for it.

You might like to come live in the current world. Like everything else in entertainment (movies, games, comics whatever), music is entertainment and professionally made. It requires time, effort and money. Just as stupid RIAA's lawsuits against studenst are, pirates reasoning to get content for free are too. Music *IS* industry. You dont get around that as much as you'd like to deny it. Or well, if you like to, stop listening to commercially produced music and go listen in the streets; they're nice sometimes and you can tip those who you think are good. But if you're against commercial music, the answer isn't to pirate it. Answer is not to listen to it all. You're just being hypocrisy and making excuses for pirating if you still listen to them.

And now besides the point, record labels aren't there just to rip people off. Artists actually need them. They actually find the artists that could be something, provide them studio time and sponsor them so they can get their job done, help making the music videos, doing promotion, making sure the actual product is somewhat quality (yeah, quality can be argued!) to actually delivering the products to retailers, tv and radio stations and whatever other places. Lots of times people forget that record labels do lots of other work too and sponsor the bands, and they're not there just to collect money forgefully.

This is why I think the record labels will continue to exist and will be used by artists. Yes, I said used. Its not necessary for artists to use them, noone force's them to. But lets face it, all that usually needs lots of money and time and work. Not a single person can usually do so much, but go work with record labels so they can handle all the other stuff and artists can spend the time on their core thing -- making music.

Re:Let it die. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921467)

Hi, the 1950's called and they want their arguments back. I know a few musicians who can afford their own studio setups that are just as good as anything you'll find in the 'major labels'. Studio time isn't that big of a barrier to entry anymore.

So do you need big labels for quality? Well, you have me there, no indie label could match the musical genius of somebody like say, Brittney Spears.

The "industry" the GP refers to is the big labels that screw over everybody -- artists and listeners -- in the guise that there's barriers or a scarcity that's just not there anymore. Those are the companies that go away.

Re:Let it die. (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921589)

No, you dont need big labels for quality. But lets face it; most starting bands are low on money, do it part time and if you've ever listened to demo's they suck. Well they dont if you like the band, but at that point you approciate them with different view. Just because a few musicians with their own money to support them can get studio time doesn't mean all the starting bands can.

As much as I know this is heated topic in slashdot -- and i probably get modded down for it -- the big label records AREN'T there to fuck everyone over. They're just best at making everything that work (what i mentioned in earlier post and other). I mean, I like smaller records. Since my teenage years Drive-Thru Records have been my favourite one. They're a small, somewhat known record label thats just luckily stayed on positive balance. I've tried to support them when I can.

Besides the label issues, see my later posts -- I support Spotify and methods for people for free to listen to music legitly. But I think record labels are needed to support the artists.

Re:Let it die. (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921691)

I love it how the previous comment [slashdot.org] got moderated down as troll to hide opinions that actually reflect reality :)

Re:Let it die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921799)

That particular post sounded all reasonable and matter-of-fact, but mods=gods and people remember you.

Re:Let it die. (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921841)

You might actually like to give a read to my later posts on this story before modding me troll as "music industry troll". Both this [slashdot.org] and this [slashdot.org] we're really good comments trying to get a line between music industry and pirates. But seems for the latter ones anything isn't enough in slashdot, so they got buried as "troll".

Welcome to the herdmind (-1, Troll)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921933)

not a hivemind, which implies purposeful order, but a disorderly group of herd followers that shit where they eat.

Re:Let it die. (5, Insightful)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921779)

Probably the only utility the record industry provides to artists is that of promotion. Yes, the Internet makes it very easy to distribute music for next to nothing, but how do you find people to distribute it to? Word of mouth only goes so far, and advertising is expensive.

No, let me repeat that, advertising is very expensive. Go look up the numbers on Google Adsense and you'll see it's not unreasonable for every visitor to cost you (on average) $1. Assuming 10% of those people actually buy something from you (which is a very high conversion rate, more realistic would be 1-5%), and you need to make $10 sales (on average) per person, just to cover your advertising costs!

But, back to the record industry. They have large coffers and deals with all the radio stations, so they can easily push out a $$$$ ad campaign and get airtime for songs they think they can make a return on. They probably don't make huge profits on most artists (indeed, they may even lose money), but in aggregate they still (obviously) turn a tidy profit.

I don't know about you, but I don't have 6 figures to lay down on advertising, so as an independent content producer (of which I am, see Game! [wittyrpg.com] ), it puts you in a very awkward position. For musicians, you can sell your soul to the music industry and hope there's some profit left over for you in the end, or you can go it alone and probably reach only a tiny audience, but keep all of the (tiny) profit for yourself. Or, you can lay down for advertising and promotion, which is expensive (as discussed already) and may or may not pay itself back.

Don't get me wrong, obviously the record industry is only interested in turning a profit for itself (and will probably screw over most artists that sign with it in the process), but if the Internet had completely obsoleted the record industry, artists would have wised up by now and the record industry would actually be gone by now.

Re:Let it die. (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921501)

And now besides the point, record labels aren't there just to rip people off. Artists actually need them.

Before advent of easy recording, just about every family that wanted to appear civilized owned a piano or some other musical instrument. That is, people used to play music themselves. I personally record my own music for my family and listen to a lot of bands of friends or ones that play small venues. You know, I listen to music that people can actually play. I'll never forget in high school going to one concert for some bands I liked quite a bit (U2 with the Pixes opening) and realizing that they sounded absolutely awful live and that the sound on their records has been manipulated to the point of being false. That was the day I stopped believing that the "current world" was the best solution. I don't need the RIAA, I can keep playing my own music and traditional, non-copyrighted music to my heart's content. I'm not alone in this. Don't believe me? Go spend a few hours on youtube.

Re:Let it die. (3, Informative)

FelixNZ (1426093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921599)

Regarding Live performances - This isn't always the band's fault, although I haven't been to see either of those bands in person, but I have been to several venues where the guy behind the mixing desk is spot on, and the experience is far, far better than any recording. Conversely, the same bands in a different venue and some sort of bespectacled Human-Gorilla hybrid behind the desk, seemingly randomly playing with knobs and sliders have rendered the performance absolutely abysmal.

Re:Let it die. (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921621)

Regarding live performances, you have to realize that many bands aren't exactly sober when they play.

Re:Let it die. (2, Funny)

ProfM (91314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921885)

Regarding live performances, you have to realize that many bands aren't exactly sober when they play.

That's the reason to go see them ... it's like going to a Nascar event for the crashes.

Re:Let it die. (4, Informative)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921771)

I did live sound for 20 years. It is not always the engineers fault if the sound is crap. Some rooms are just impossile to get a good sound. Some bands are so loud on stage that the PA system cannot keep up, again bad sound. Some PA systems are crap.

Bottom line is if you werent at the mixing desk yourself you have no idea of the problems that are in front of the Sound guy.

How many times have you actually mixed a band?

Yeh right never, it shows.

Re:Let it die. (1)

RincewindTVD (1011435) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921925)

So for "poor equipment that won't go as loud as I want" your recommended solution is to crank the volume anyway and have it sound like crap?

How much repeat band mixing work have you had?

Re:Let it die. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921647)

I know this. But lets face it; if you know the people, you have more feelings toward them and think its good. I mean, I *love* when my gf sings to me and I think its cute and lovely. But I have the feelings that make it. It wouldn't stand against commercially produced music.

I've also listened to friends and friends of friends playing music and they seem good. But the relationships come in to play in that. When it gets larger, its not gonna help but the music has to be good quality and something liked. And I do enjoy demo songs and such, but I want to listen to professionally made music too.

Re:Let it die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921739)

Your post is implying that bands sound worse live because their recordings are heavily manipulated in the studio. Ever consider that the live sound engineer might just suck at his job?

It also works in the reverse. I saw a band live in Ozzfest 2003 called "Hotwire". They were amazing live, but their album was as bland as a plain bagel.

Re:Let it die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921937)

A lot of the time it's just that your used to the same exact recording with the same exact notes hit that you assume it was meant to be that way, and when you finally here it done differently it sounds wrong. There are bands that suck live, of course, I'm not denying that. (alcohol also is a problem...)

Re:Let it die. (3, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921525)

The primary benefit that record companies provide to the artist today is promotion. Without promotion, most artists will remain in some kind of local niche. A few might get national attention for doing something that gathers lots of publicity - like running through a public park naked or something like that. That is about it.

What people do not understand is the full spectrum of promotion. Kill off the record companies and promotion dies. With it go a lot of magazines that music promotion is supporting. FM Radio is going to change a lot in the US, because it is mostly a music promotion vehicle. I would expect most stations to just give up and shut down. The rest will do something else. They will not be playing popular music.

How far do the tenacles of music promotion go? I don't really know. I suspect that the ripples from ending music promotion will go much further than anyone suspects.

Re:Let it die. (4, Insightful)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921705)

Killing off the record companies could possibly be the dawn of a new age with much more diversity. Without the massive inefficiencies of the current music business, how many more musicians can be supported with the same revenue? The fact is, their massive control over the market, requires draconian control and just a few over-promoted stars that blot out the rest. The changes in the music world brought about by technology and the internet has already dramatically increased the access to many artists that we would have had previously.

Re:Let it die. (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921757)

promotion blah blah blah blah blah

local niche

Hur dur the internet?

Re:Let it die. (2, Insightful)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921791)

Record companies decide to "promote" on the basis
of how good looking an artist is, see Brittany Spears or Kylie Minogue for examples.

Getting rid of the "Industry" who are nothing more than leaches would be a very good thing.

Re:Let it die. (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921941)

So you're saying that we're currently operating on a 'music bubble', where the labels just promote whatever they choose via payola to music stations to make appear popular, then people buy it en-masse, thus actually making it "popular"?

That the industry is too big for the gov't to allow it to 'pop'?

I'm sorry son, we have to listen to this crap. It's to save the economy.

Re:Let it die. (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921543)

You might like to come live in the current world. Like everything else in entertainment (movies, games, comics whatever), music is entertainment and professionally made. It requires time, effort and money

Your argument fails. While feature-length movies are generally the domain of professionals (requires a ton more time), there are entertaining other shorter movies such as Homestar Runner which doesn't even have ads on their site yet has hundreds of videos. Games? There are loads of games that the game itself is free while they use other ways of making a profit. Heck, I can download the WoW client for free ( http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/downloads/wowclient-download.html [worldofwarcraft.com] ) yet I wouldn't say it was unprofitable in the least. Comics? Lets see here, off of the top of my head there are, Megatokyo ( http://www.megatokyo.com/ [megatokyo.com] ), User Friendly ( http://www.userfriendly.org/ [userfriendly.org] ) and XKCD ( http://xkcd.com/ [xkcd.com] ) And XKCD lets you use their comic so long as you attribute to them.

Re:Let it die. (2, Insightful)

medlefsen (995255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921607)

Actually, what they do is find the artists they think they can sell and then try to make sure they turn a profit on them. It doesn't have anything to do with artistic merit. It doesn't really matter though. If they can't stay in business in the current environment then they'll die off and life will go on.

The argument that music will go away if the prospect of multi-million dollar recording contracts goes away is completely nonsensical considering that the majority of music in the world and throughout history has been made in their absence. People will continue to make music, and people will even continue to find a away to reimburse artists. This is not the catastrophe some people are making it out to be.

Re:Let it die. (1)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921617)

Good job copy-pasta karma whoring, very clever! ;)

But at least it's YOUR post, and not a ripoff of someone else, I think. I thought your post sounded familiar, though: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319765&cid=28878663 [slashdot.org]

It is a very good post all the same, and you make an excellent point.

Re:Let it die. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921917)

Did Hank do it thisaway? Tennessee Ernie?

Actually, I think they made money when they played. Which worked out all right, because they didn't have to support a boatload of parasites who owned contracts.

Let's do Like Hank did, alright?

It's not like it's NECESSARY that every man, woman, and child in the world is listening to the same vacuous big busted bitch whining into a microphone. There are vacuous big busted bitches in my own county who can whine into local mikes, and all the local people will toss her a few dollars.

As the GP said, let it die.

Re:Let it die. (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921397)

No shit.

The latest culprit accelerating the undoing of the music business is free, legal online music streaming.

Counterpoint: the real culprit accelerating the undoing of the music business is:

- anticompetitive business practices (price fixing, etc) that have given potential customers a sour attitude towards music labels
- destruction of diversity in radio broadcasting (something the music industry ironically pushed for) via the death of media ownership regulations mid-'90s

And finally, the main reason:

- replacement of almost all talented acts that produced good music, with hyperproduced kiddie-shit "artists" whose assets are not musical talent or singing voices, but barely-covered bikini bottoms and tits. Just you wait: in 4 years, tops, "Hannah Montana" will be pulling a Britney-style selfdestruct. And neither of them are capable of producing "music" even remotely worth listening to.

Re:Let it die. (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921653)

- anticompetitive business practices (price fixing, etc) that have given potential customers a sour attitude towards music labels

There is some truth in that, but come on. People really stopped buying music because of that?

- destruction of diversity in radio broadcasting (something the music industry ironically pushed for) via the death of media ownership regulations mid-'90s

Wrong. Radio hardly has any influence on what music people listen to these days.

And finally, the main reason: - replacement of almost all talented acts that produced good music, with hyperproduced kiddie-shit "artists" whose assets are not musical talent or singing voices, but barely-covered bikini bottoms and tits. Just you wait: in 4 years, tops, "Hannah Montana" will be pulling a Britney-style selfdestruct. And neither of them are capable of producing "music" even remotely worth listening to.

I doubt very much that the music industry is replacing musicians who would sell more music with those who would sell less. What you or I might consider quality music doesn't come into it at all and shouldn't. If people like "hyperproduced kiddie-shit artists", which they obviously do, then that's what they get. Just like on a typical weekend out of the top 10 grossing movies I would consider 9 or more to be completely unwatchable garbage, but other people obviously have different tastes so how can I say that unless movie industry makes more movies that I would like its profits would suffer? Your personal problems with the music industry are not necessarily the same ones that are causing its troubles.

Re:Let it die. (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921895)


which they obviously do
According to TFA, that's not so obvious. Maybe no one does. Which is one of many possible explanations for the decline of music sales. If people liked the music as much as the music industry thinks that they should, the profits wouldn't have declined as much. It could just be that the music industry is packed with lazy, stupid wanna be business men who don't like to work too hard to make a buck. And have therefore put themselves in this position.

Re:Let it die. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921405)

The words 'music' and 'industry' were never meant to go together. Music should come from the heart, not the wallet. This idea that you can become wealthy by being a musician is a new one and we've suffered for it.

Bloody hell! You've suffered for it??? Go ahead and troll away but paying musicians doesn't lead to suffering. Make legitimate arguments but the idea that you are suffering because music isn't always free is laughable not insightful.

Re:Let it die. (1, Insightful)

jackal40 (1119853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921453)

Personally, I haven't bought a new album in over three years. And no, I'm not using p2p or any other source to get them illegally. I haven't heard of anything worth listening (much less buying) in some time. If my daughter hadn't given me the last Rush album, I would have bought that, but there just isn't anything worth listening to anymore.

I don't even listen to the radio in the car, just play a CD. Sorry record execs, but your demise cannot come soon enough for me. The RIAA and the MPAA need to go the way of the dinosaurs. JFDA

Re:Let it die. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921591)

Hope you got it on LP, cause the mastering is compressed to shit on all the other formats these days, and sounds ghastly...

Re:Let it die. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921823)

Hope you got it on LP, cause the mastering is compressed to shit on all the other formats these days, and sounds ghastly...

Sometimes, but too often the LP gets the same crushed shit mastering as the CD. But anyway, that must be another reason for people ceasing to buying music: ALMOST EVERYTHING SOUNDS LIKE SHIT NOWADAYS.

Re:Let it die. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921717)

Congrats, you turned 30 (or 35, or 40, or whatever). Like movies, records are aimed at the 16-24 year olds. You would have stopped buying at this age any time since the early 1970s (when they stopped making music worth a damn).

No go wash the minivan and shoo those darned kids off your lawn.

Re:Let it die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921649)

Thinking we could hire people to compose and perform some sort of violin melody to accompany your whine. In the next scene, someone will mention how musicians have been in business for several centuries, pointing out that operas and symphonies etc were often commissioned, and performed by professional musicians.

(S)he who sings by the sword, falls by the sword. (2, Insightful)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921871)

The way I see it, the recording/copying technology created the industry in the first place at the cost of local/family musicians. The next iteration of technology made them obsolete. Recording execs are like telephone switchboard operators - one wave of technology created the role, the next wave destroys it. They're just trying to manipulate the law to defy the reality of technology ... why should this be different than any other industry since the start of the industrial revolution? (oh right, nobody's "profiting" off this change - can't allow anything to happen that doesn't make the rich richer, can we?).

Streaming services (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921323)

Free music IS NOT the way to go. Warez IS NOT the way to go.

However, streaming music services certainly ARE. Spotify [spotify.com] has been around for an year in europe now and its getting close to US launch soon. Everyone I know has stopped pirating music because of it, and personally me and my friends paste spotify links to listen to good new music. And same thing is with my gf, specially because she's been away at her home town this summer. But we like the same kind of music so we paste those link on facebook. Easy and convenient.

I'm actually happy record labels have started to support these things. Great respect for them for that, because thats exactly what we need and want in these days. And they still get the compensation in ad revenue or premium membership. We cant buy every album, because theres just certain amount every person can spend on music per month. But we can listen to them with flat rates or ads. And everyone benefits, including record labels.

Re:Streaming services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921347)

Amazingly true. Went to the local BB today to buy a couple of CDs. Walked out with none. I dont know what I wanted. Didnt hear any of the newer stuff. So I gave it a skip. When you are hearing nothing but the same 30 year old songs on the radio every day you do not really feel like buying new music as you do not know it.

Re:Streaming services (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921379)

Somehow the fact that you refer to pirated music as "warez" makes me somewhat skeptical that you have ever actually done so. Warez is the term for cracked software, not music.

That aside, streaming music services are at least as bad as the ITMS and similar services for the music industry. Back prior to all that hogwash you were pretty limited in your ability to buy music in single track increments. Sure you could get a single, but you couldn't buy 8 out of 11 songs, and if you wanted a song which wasn't as popular you were stuck with buying the album.

These days, that's not how it's done, you only have to listen to the songs you like without ever having paid for the rest of the tracks. I'm sure that sounds good in theory. But take a look back at previous albums, I doubt most people would've really appreciated the higher quality of Nirvana's Nevermind over their later In Utero, worse in a sense is that if you clip off the non-music from In Utero it's would seem like a better period of work. As things are done more and more like that there is less and less incentive to spread the effort out, rather than focusing on a quality album experience to justify buying the album, that time and money tends to get funneled into a couple of tracks.

That and the generally poor production quality of so many albums pretty much insures that quality music is going to be much harder to come by than it has been in the past. If we get really lucky, all of this will be largely neutralized by the increasing easy of independent groups getting exposure and producing their own work without the suits.

Re:Streaming services (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921483)

You forget that in free with ads/premium supported service you get way more listeners, and when you make it more convenient you also stop warez (yes, i know what it means but it can be meant for all of that).

The usual arguement with pirates have been that good music will survive anyways because those who do it for their love will get support. Well, these free streaming help a great amount in that. Someone likes their music and he just pastes link to their friends and suddenly theres a lot more listeners, who also can spread it further. And if you have lots of listeners, you'll also have more revenue.

Re:Streaming services (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921891)

Somehow the fact that you refer to pirated music as "warez" makes me somewhat skeptical that you have ever actually done so.

I bet he also pronounces similar to the Mexican city of Juarez. (Dammit people, it's just like "wares" but with a "z"!)

If you're going to be pedantic... (1)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921923)

...at least be correct.

Somehow the fact that you refer to pirated music as "warez" makes me somewhat skeptical that you have ever actually done so. Warez is the term for cracked software, not music.

Warez refers to pirated goods. I'll grant you that it primarily connotes pirated software (with or without cracks applied or included) but the term is absolutely used to refer to pirated music. I can give you references if you like, but 5 minutes with Google should make it pretty apparent.

Re:Streaming services (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921441)

Sorry, but strictly as a risk vs. reward calculation, stealing (er, downloading) music is a really good deal. Free wins out of over pay every time and just about everyone using the Internet is used to the idea of free.

There are even people writing (er, copying from Wikipedia) books about free.

The music "industry" can't embrace "free" because there is no other product, it is all just recorded music. The record companies have never had a big stake in live performances or anything else other than selling recorded music in one form or another. If it is all available for free, then there isn't anything else for them.

Re:Streaming services (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921529)

You're answering to my post about spotify and such services, but have you actually test it? Its free, but it still supports artists and its legal. Pretty much everyone I know have converted from illegally downloading music to spotify because its just so convenient and gives everything you need. There hasn't been really a reason to use torrents etc after spotify came out, because it does actually pwn them. Yeah, I'm still surprised even after an year. But its a GREAT service.

Re:Streaming services (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921665)

I love sharing my listening habits with the RIAA! Spotify - fuck yeah!

Film at 11. (4, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921325)

Industry with a track record of charging insane prices for crappy products, ripping off artists who they claim to represent, and developing a business model of suing their own customers in gross abuse of the legal process is experiencing financial difficulties. We'll be providing blow-by-blow coverage.

Re:Film at 11. (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921357)

We'll be providing blow-by-blow coverage.

That's great! Just don't forget the hookers.

Re:Film at 11. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921551)

Can we buy tickets to this death match, or will it only be on PPV?

I see what you did there. (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921645)

'Track record', eh? Tee hee. Very clever.

Re:Film at 11. (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921709)

We'll be providing blow-by-blow coverage.

As in, you're going to the coke party that the music industry execs throw with all their profits?

Re:Film at 11. (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921783)

It's the same crappy industry that charged insane prices for crappy products and ripped off artists for many, many years and had enormous profits to show for it. That leaves us with suing its customers, but I suspect that that is a symptom, not a cause of its demise. So, for cause I'm afraid you have to look elsewhere (hint: file sharing). Not that I'm sorry at all that its going, but we might as well be honest. I am just curious to see what will replace it and will it be any better.

Re:Film at 11. (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921951)

It really is bizarre, much more than the usual situation. Actors and directors, for example, kvetch about Hollywood, but I haven't seen nearly the same level of anti-studio invective from prominent directors and actors as I have seen anti-music-industry invective from prominent musicians. The RIAA types seem to have done a remarkably thorough job in pissing off the people they claim to represent, across a wide swathe of genres.

Re:Film at 11. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921957)

To summarize this discussion (and every other Slashdot d-iscussion on the subject):

  The record industry is greedy, crappy, stupid, bullying, backwards, dinosaurs, coke-swilling, limousine-riding, lets-do-lunch-baby-partying, Britney Spears-pushing, consumer-ripoff-perpetrating, band-ripoff-perpetrating, copyright-law-abusing, $18.98-CD-with-one-decent-track and-thats-being-generous-pushing, ridiculous, "rediculous", whining... (+5, insightful)

Not to mention the RIAA is greedy, crappy, stupid, bullying, backwards, dinosaurs, coke-swilling, limousine-riding, lets-do-lunch-baby-partying, Britney Spears-pushing, consumer-ripoff-perpetrating, band-ripoff-perpetrating.... (+5 informative)

AND there are MANY outstanding indy alternatives out there!

Here's my question:

So why do piracy at all? Why not patronize those indy alternatives, and stop trying to justify copyright violation. In other words, boycott, don't steal (oops "infringe").(0, troll)

This is all rather childish.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921327)

omgwtfbbq

irony (5, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921349)

An article about an industry that is dying, published by an industry that is dying. Both are being killed by the same new technology.

Re:irony (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921365)

An article about an industry that is dying, published by an industry that is dying. Both are being killed by the same new technology.

Any bets on which one goes belly-up first?

Re:irony (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921399)

The buggy whip industry.

Re:irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921959)

The same new ad-based technology?

Re:irony (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921797)

Funny how most institutions will stop progress so they themselves can live longer until nobody wants them, when they did the same thing to the institutions they replaced.

Its part of progress. The music industry isnt the music, music will always live on no matter what media form it takes. Forcing people through old technology and high prices so you can get your golf weekends will only last so long.

The traditional music industry is a buggy whip (4, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921425)

The artist will win. No more signing away most your rights with shady contracts. No more skimming 99.9 cents on the dollar for CD sales. No more lock in for future albums. Artists are making their money by selling direct to consumers with online distribution channels because it gives the unknown artist a shot. It also promotes better music because when the consumer has better choice, they will choose better music.

The direct sales channels will continue to grow and standardize so I expect the traditional industry losses will accelerate.

Re:The traditional music industry is a buggy whip (2, Insightful)

cobrachaos (1610589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921641)

Maybe its a sign of a revolution of free thinkers! After all MTV is the Queen of spoonfeeding the masses the crap we've had to endure for the past twenty years, how else will I know what type of music I like unless they tell me so? yeah I said queen, cause lets face it we're all just ants to them.

Re:The traditional music industry is a buggy whip (5, Interesting)

FormerComposer (318416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921703)

It also promotes better music because when the consumer has better choice, they will choose better music.

I got out of the retail record business over 25 years ago because the industry was rapidly losing its customers to consumers. They weren't choosing better music; they were choosing cheaper music. Saving 50 cents on Saturday Night Fever was more important than their store actually having a wide selection of interesting sounds. Eventually, it wasn't worth it to stock the better; only the popular.

I blame the Decline of Western Civilization on the Rise of the Consumer. YMMV.

Re:The traditional music industry is a buggy whip (3, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921773)

The rumors of our death are highly exaggerated [jedediahsbuggywhip.com]

The reason... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921429)

The reason why streaming music is taking over is because radio is crap. Seriously, if you don't like hip hop, pop, country or classic rock, there are -no- stations other than that anymore. If you have musical tastes other than that, too bad. You won't find any terrestrial radio that plays that. So because of that people stream more, in general streaming music ends up being better and have a greater variety. If I can't find a terrestrial radio station that plays music I like, I'm going to then listen to streaming music. Because of that, why buy the music when you can with a bit of searching find the streaming music?

Re:The reason... (3, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921481)

The radio plays those genres? I thought it just played DJ's and ads.

Re:The reason... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921625)

Close.

They play the top 10 in rotation with a healthy dose of ads in between. Basically, they're computer automated acoustic drive-by billboards. Tune in my friend. Tune in...*sic*

Re:The reason... (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921807)

The radio only plays music as bait to get the clueless listeners into the ads. Much like tv or magasines do.

Re:The reason... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921561)

The reason why streaming music is taking over is because radio is crap.

Maybe I'm the exception here, but I listen to streaming music all day at work because radio reception stinks where I work. Fortunately the local station I like to listen to has an online stream.

Re:The reason... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921661)

there are two local FM stations i can tolerate listening to, one is NPR and the other plays jazz (not pop but real jazz)

Re:The reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921723)

Seriously, if you don't like hip hop, pop, country or classic rock, there are -no- stations other than that anymore. If you have musical tastes other than that, too bad.

Someone tell that to the public radio stations around here - they're playing jazz and classical. Don't they know they don't exist?!

Re:The reason... (4, Insightful)

intx13 (808988) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921743)

The reason why streaming music is taking over is because radio is crap. Seriously, if you don't like hip hop, pop, country or classic rock, there are -no- stations other than that anymore. If you have musical tastes other than that, too bad.

You could easily write that as: "If you have musical tastes that aren't the same as the majority, too bad." But that's pretty much expected, right? Imagine liking orchestral music when big band took off. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's "crap". A lot of people like Miley Cyrus and don't care if it's not skillfully performed music. Radio, like any limited-spectrum broadcast medium, caters to the majority.

If dislike in radio genres was substantial enough to impact the music industry's bottom line (via "switchers" to streaming media) the radio stations would adjust accordingly.

I think what is increasing demand in streaming media is availability, ease of use, and cost. The state of streaming "Internet radio" 10 years ago was pitiful. Since then we have standardized technologies, better quality, and (however grudgingly) music label support. Along with reasonable costs (free in many cases!), increased access to high-bandwidth Internet connections, and more legitimacy in not owning physical albums, tapes, CDs, etc. streaming becomes a viable media delivery method.

Switching was an easy choice (1)

Yxven (1100075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921437)

I don't have to manage my playlist or do anything extra to discover new music.
The variety of stations available online means that I never have to listen to music that's stale.
I can listen from any computer in the house.
It costs nothing.
The amount of commercials is tolerable.

The only downside is that I can't find any riaa-free stations. Does anyone know of any?

Re:Switching was an easy choice (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921461)

The only downside is that I can't find any riaa-free stations. Does anyone know of any?

Easy way is to listen to non-American music. Of course, usually you end up with music from the foreign equivalents to the RIAA. But really, most of the bands I listen to are either European or Asian, very few actually are American.

"Music Industry" (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921475)

If by music industry you mean anything that is distributed in the form of iTunes or mp3's with a useful half life of a month or so, I'm all for its demise and good riddance.

The vast majority of that sort of stuff is dung. If we are talking about taxing cigarettes and sugary carbonated soda and fast food, no reason to not extend that to this sort of "music" as well.

Once this sort of stuff is gone maybe people will get a chance to listen to real music, in person or played back on high-fidelity equipment.

It might be an epiphany.

CDs are for old people (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921497)

Duh, CDs are for old people. The RIAA should concentrate on expanding into the untapped market of North Korea.

Re:CDs are for old people (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921569)

CD used to be worth buying prior to the RIAA getting greedy and homogenizing the music into bland Muzak. To make matters worse, all new and re-released albums suffer from the "Loudness War" mastering. So before all this crap happened in the industry, CDs were about quality and hi-fidelity.

FYI, I treat my old stock CDs like faberge eggs. Priceless!

Decimated... (4, Informative)

HisMother (413313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921515)

... refers to the loss of one out of ten soldiers. If their sales are down by half, they've already been decimated five times over.

</pedantry>

Re:Decimated... (5, Funny)

Tau Neutrino (76206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921733)

If their sales are down by half, they've already been decimated five times over.

Actually, if sales had been decimated once, they would be at 90% of their previous level. Twice, they'd be at 81%. Five times, at 59.049%.

To get to 50%, they'd have to have been decimated approximately 6.578 times.

Pedantic even longer.

Re:Decimated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921767)

While we're being pedantic...

Seven times, actually (well, 6.5788 times):

0.9^5 = 0.5905
0.9^6 = 0.5314
0.9^7 = 0.4783

Re:Decimated... (1)

metallurge (693631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921859)

... actually, to achieve a 50% reduction in the original amount, approximately 6.6 decimations are required.
</pedantry>

Re:Decimated... (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921929)

You keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means.

Re:Decimated... (1)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921961)

One could argue that since they are not losing any soldiers, they are not being decimated at all.

Update the pricing of music (3, Insightful)

zlel (736107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921521)

There was once, music tapes cost SGD $8. When CDs hit the market, they cost SGD $30, but it was promised that they would go down to the same price as tapes one day. Isn't it time to sell full albums at SGD $5, considering the volume that the music industry is able to produce? Isn't that what industries do best - to give what the market wants at a cost leveraged by the economics of scale? Given that the packaging that comes with the CD does cost something to make, but essentially, isn't music, as a commodity, like software - make once, and sell it many times over? Given the international market exposed by the internet, is online music, too, overpriced? Or perhaps society needs to rethink the place of musicians - perhaps they could be like open source software authors, who have a day job?

Inconsistency? (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921523)

The article says that digital purchases were down from 2007 to 2008, but the graphic shows that both download album and download single peaked in 2008, meaning they rose from 2007 to 2008. Did I mis-interpret or miss something?

Re:Inconsistency? (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921821)

Didnt you know, graphs arent meant to be analyzed intelligently, they are only there so people go Ohhh and Ahhh and agree to whatever bullshit you throw at them.

Record Industry (5, Interesting)

bjustice (1053864) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921537)

The Record Industry's Crisis Writ Large

There, fixed that for you. The record industry is the one that makes money on recordings. The music industry is the one that makes money on music in general including concerts. The music industry is fine and will be fine. The record industry is fucked.

Re:Record Industry (4, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921927)

Absolutely right! There are more artists, making more music, doing more concerts, and pulling in more money, than ever before. Music is doing fine. Selling records is the only thing that's hurting. (Requisite car analogy: it wasn't the transportation industry that cars put out of business, it was the horse and buggy industry.)

Music industry not dying (4, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921613)

It's not the music industry that's dying, it's the recording industry. It's become clear that the money people are not spending on recorded music they are instead spending on live music:

These reports all say the same thing: concert ticket sales growth more than makes up for the decline in recorded music sales.

Re:Music industry not dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921667)

If only Jackson hadn't passed away. Ugh. His comeback concerts would've brought about insane new tickets and record sales.

Industry ONLY?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921629)

They speak of the 'Music Industry' as if it incorporates ALL musical acts out there.... A few questions for the 'Music Industry', and all you fans out there.

How many bands out there are unsigned? How many of those bands have their music available to listen to, or buy, on the web? How easy is it to trade those bands tracks, between friends?

The sad part of all this 'Music Industry' broo-haha, is that there is large market that the 'Music Industry' doesn't touch, monetarily. And guess what. They don't know how much it is, but they can speculate, and claim it directly effects their bottom line on reports like this one, and every other report we've heard about for the past several years.

Should I believe these reports that claim the 'Music Industry' is in dire straights? No. And neither should you. Between 'complex accounting' practices, and the complete monopoly of an Industry for almost the past 100 years, and the fact that a band can curtail the entire industry and make it on their own, shows you that, though they still are king of the hill in the industry, in their current form, their obsolescence is inevitable. And THAT is what scares them.

Alternative Sources for Musical Enjoyment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921677)

They do things like put music onto myspace and into video games and kids hear the song there and then the execs wonder why the kids are not buying CDs, and it's like "for fuck sake, how many times do you want them to purchase the same song?"

Streaming in the 80s (5, Insightful)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921683)

When I was a teen, about 15 years ago, I was also listening to streams. But at the time, it was called ... FM radio!

Re:Streaming in the 80s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921809)

what the fuck is your point? i hate posts like this. nothing informative. nothing insightful. just another jerkoff who needs to hear his jaw wag.

Re:Streaming in the 80s (1)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921825)

Yeah, 1994 called and told me to tell you that it isn't "the 80s".

Decimate means reduce by ten per cent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921803)

Sheesh.

Hi. (4, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921835)

Hi. I'm the American actor, violinist, ballet dancer, and sculptor. We have little sympathy. Welcome back to having to make art because you love it, and not because you expect it to be a lottery ticket.

Re:Hi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28921913)

American actors don't make a lot of money???

The $250,000 economy car (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921843)

These "music industry" people want the equivalent of 250 thou for a 25 grand commuter car. nuts. They wonder why sales are off, whereas a billion music purchasers know exactly why sales are off, they just don't feel like getting price gouged anymore.

I suggest the "music industry" lay off all the coke and booze for a year or two then come back and rethink their stance on pricing, for digital bits down the tubes or the same digital bits on two cents worth of plastic. Their "per unit" pricing is from decades ago, it doesn't come close to anything rational anymore. When it was very expensive to make a copy for sale, sure, it was understandable, but now, today?? Who are they kidding besides themselves?

    Tech advances and much cheaper bandwith should have allowed them to both drop prices dramatically, plus increase sales dramatically, instead, they have clung to those old price models like a wino to a jug of t-bird with ten drops left swirling around the bottom. It's pathetic really. I bought music pretty steady from the late 50s until the 90s, that's forty years of being a customer..then...just finally one day got annoyed with the price gouging, quit then, my one guy boycott. I don't pirate, but I won't pay those ludicrous prices either for some digital download copy (a buck for a few megs, who do they thing they are, telco ringtone sellers??), and certainly not a lot of folding dollars for a dime's worth of plastic with some cardboard "liner" nonsense.

OK, maybe the car analogy sucks, how about computers? A decade ago, what did a decent desktop system go for, and what were the specs? Now, today, you can get something much faster, with equivalent increases in installed RAM and larger HDD and better video card etc, and for much less cash. You gets lots more, for less money, because of tech advances. And that's tangible hardware, manufactured stuff.

    A decade ago, an album cost how much? And what do they want for it today? Oh ya, the same. And to *download* it they want similar loot? HAHAHAHA

    Like I said, "nuts", you lost a good customer for being price gougers. In fact, looks like you lost millions and millions of customers, and the younger folks are starting to not even *be* customers in the first place, because they know even better that those "copies" just aren't worth what you ask.

Superimprose (1)

wpiman (739077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28921931)

I would love to see this graphic superimposed on one for video games. I imagine kids today are spending far more for their media on their Wiis, Xboxes, PS3s, PCes, PSP, DSes, and other gaming systems than they did on Nintendo DS cartridges and Quake in 1999. They are probably also running up their cell phone bills. The dollars probably just migrated.
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