Just saw this article about the demise of the Record Industry on RollingStone.com – it’s a good read, but here’s the salient bit for this blog –
“In 2000, U.S. consumers bought 785.1 million albums; last year, they bought 588.2 million (a figure that includes both CDs and downloaded albums), according to Nielsen SoundScan“
Now, I’m sure I’m not typical of ‘the average consumer’ – I know I’m not (I’ve only ever bought one CD from a supermarket…) but I do know that all of my sales, or most of the CDs I buy will never show up on a ‘Nielsen SoundScan’ report… I’d love to know how indie sales impact that figure, and the parallel figure about the number of people now making a living, or part of their living, from their own music. I’d like to see figures on the number of indie labels and artists that are self publishing and selling more than 500 CDs a year (given that if you’re pressing it yourself, you can make between £5-£7 clear profit on each disc – $10 to $14 – so that’s over £2,500 a year in CD sales income, which carries with it the assumption that you’re making probably at least as much again on gig money…
I think the future looks VERY bleak for the majors. They’ve long relinquished their part in the process of pushing the art of popular music forward, settling into a pattern of releasing tried and tested formulae, usually being at least 3-4 years behind the cutting edge of any musical movement (how long had the ‘grunge’ thing been happening before Geffen released Nevermind?). So now they are trying to do marketing tie-ins, computer game promotion, TV show placement – anything to keep their grubby fingers in the many musical pies.
But the major label end of the industry is imploding, the indies are thinking faster, changing, adapting, and in many cases thriving.
It’s a tough time to be a musician and make a living at it, for sure, but the opportunities and potential are there, especially if you lot keep supporting the indie peoples (check out the links page here to get some new musical ideas)by