For the last few years we have been hearing regularly in various news and media outlets that something or other is killing the music industry. New technology and changes in the way people consume and share music will always be immediately met with criticism or estimated to be ‘the death of the music industry’. But it would seem that nothing so far has been the nail in the coffin for one of the world’s favourite pastimes. How healthy is the music industry today?
A History of Threats
Just looking at the last few decades reveals many speculations of the robustness of the music industry. In the 80’s people feared the classic cassette player and its ability to record over radio would be the death of the industry. In the millennium, it was the accessibility of pirate websites such as Limewire and Napster. Just 10 years later, when the world wide web took music online, the sales of physical records crashed in value by 40%, seeing EMI, Virgin Megastore and even HMV fall off the face of the Earth. But music is still alive and well. Did it save itself?
Adapting to Changes
It’s easy to forget that the music industry is one of the most self-serving industries there are. It is often the people who love music the most who are managing how the music industry works. That means that the people who are in the know of the changes can redirect the whole industry in its favour. A great example of this is how streaming recently became a great indicator of the music charts.
Just a decade ago with the rise of streaming on Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify, it was clear that the music charts and billboards, using radio plays as a key indicator, were not reflecting what the world was actually listening to. Cue 2013 when Daft Punk’s Get Lucky became the first track ever to be streamed 1 million times in a week and 2014 when this level of streaming became more common. The music industry listened and that year the Official Charts Company chief executive, Martin Talbot, recognised streaming as a chart indicator, giving a much more well-rounded view of what we were listening to and loving.
Never Doubt a Throwback
Just like old songs remind us of the good old days, it would seem that the way we listen to them brings back good memories too and music fans might be the most reminiscent group of people of all! We may have officially given CD’s the slip but the last few years has seen the revival of vinyl, with even popular clothing stores stocking the latest chart music in vinyl records, and second hand stores have seen original vinyl prop up their sales. This summer also saw a resurgence in cassette tapes and sales of cassette players with sales up 112% on the previous year! Many hypothesise that it is film and television, which is making cassette tapes a key part of many plotlines, responsible for the resurgence.
So, don’t let buzzword news and media fool you about what the final nail in the coffin for the music industry will be. The music industry is very much alive and well and nothing that has challenged it so far has been its end – and we don’t think we’ll see the end any time soon! In fact, we go behind the scenes of recording studios, live music venues and into the homes of both young up and coming musicians and retired musicians to see how they made the most of the music industry at the times they entered. Find out more: https://www.howtomakealiving.in