Death of the album and the decline of the music industry

Death of the album is a phrase used to describe the perceived decline of the traditional album in the 21st century and the changing expectations of music listeners

The Who front-man, Roger Daltrey says the internet has stolen the record industry and gives musicians no incentive to make new music whilst legendary music producer, Quincy Jones is quoted as saying; Honey, we have no music industry! So what next for aspiring musicians?

Album sales more than halved from 1999 to 2009, declining from a $14.6 to $6.3 billion industry precisely at the same time access to high-speed internet became more widespread. A former music manufacturing industry executive wrote an open letter at the time of his leaving the industry in which he drew attention to the following:

  • After the financial crash of 2008, half the industry was lost forever as Companies spending attitudes changed;
  • Half again was lost to the rise of online gaming;
  • Of the half remaining, half of those began shopping online taking advantage of bargains on popular auction sites and stopped using their local music shop as a source of knowledge and as a place to hang out and meet other musicians!

Therefore the music manufacturing industry is now circa 12.5% of what is was a decade ago. This of course has a knockdown effect not only on research and design and retailing, but on the numbers of opportunities for musicians to play and indeed earn an income from their art.

Furthermore, some argue that iTunes “killed the album” as soon as it allowed consumers to purchase songs individually as a mere $0.75! Streaming music under licence is now accepted as being the norm and therefore 90% of professional musicians have now accepted that they can’t make any money from producing music.

There is no clear answer. Why? Many musicians have simply accepted this plight as their future whilst most consumers won’t give the price of a Big Mac meal in an effort to support a local gig or album launch.

All I ask is this: please support your local music industry be it music retailer, professional teacher or music school and of course, do support your local musicians whilst ensuring that you don’t plagiarise those at the top!

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