08 February 2011

The Death of Music Industry Has Been Overrated

Read an interesting article published on now-defunct-but-turned-virtual Singaporean music/culture magazine on the health of the music industry in 2010 entitled, MORE MUSIC SOLD THAN EVER BEFORE, DESPITE INTERNET SHARING. The main drift of the article is that in 2010, the sale of music was actually at an all-time high of 281.7 million units sold, as compared to 2006's 221.6 million units. If this is the case, why are the major record companies moaning and groaning and blaming the downloaders worldwide? The article went on to talk about the fact that instead of albums sold, it is the single track that propel the upsurge of sale. The digital format/MP3/etc allows consumers to buy the best single tracks/singles instead of buying crappily put-together albums which most of them contain only 3-4 good to excellent tracks at best. In the past, the album buyers had to endure the motley quality of the mix-bag but now they can go direct for the "good" stuff and as they always put it, cut the crap. Makes sense, in fact it makes a lot of sense when we are talking about the general quality of pop major label released albums which have been declining since the late 1980s. Why would a consumer pay the price of a full price CD/album for a few good tracks now that he/she can choose and buy them individually?


A few questions popped into my head with regards to this though: does this mean that we will not see any more legendary recording sessions of albums as albums are increasingly obsolete (at least in the mainstream pop/rock world) like back in the 1960s-1980s? For the alternative/underground acts, which are switching to releasing their stuff on vinyl and even cassette, are they equally vulnerable to such industry development? For Keiji Haino who usually has one single track on an allbum as it is usually 50 plus to even 70 plus mins, it seems to make no difference. With many surviving record labels, they are going for limited/art edition releases, luxuriously packaged and targetting at collectors, die-hard fans and old farts like me and thus there are a parallel but opposing trends of development in the entire music industry. I am all for the demise of the major record industry and I am always ready to hurrah the cottage industry in the music world. Let the EMIs, WEAs and Polygrams die of a slow death but let the PSFs, Vinyl-On-Demands and Raster-Notons live on.

2 comments:

lenny said...

I am all for their demise as well

harold said...

well once upon a time the majors were run by ppl who still loved music otherwise so many greats from Miles to prog rock and such could never have been allowed to record and release such classic works which changed the course of culture. to me the last great 'major' album was OK Computer.....after that all the shitheads in marketing and branding and all that codswallop took over...