Once Again: The Music Industry Does Not Equal The CD Business

from the get-that-straight dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in Charles Blow’s NYTimes column about the supposed “death” of the music industry. However, Blow makes the most basic of errors: he appears to equate the music industry with the recording industry. He accepts RIAA numbers of when “sales peaked,” not realizing that he’s only talking about sales of a segment of the wider music industry. Yet as recent studies both from outside and inside the music industry have shown, the overall music ecosystem has been getting larger in terms of dollar volume. Money may be shifting away from CDs, but it’s not shifting away from music-related commerce. But, I guess that’s what happens when you rely on just the RIAA for your data…

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Comments on “Once Again: The Music Industry Does Not Equal The CD Business”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, you did exactly what you always do, link to only semi-related posts and try to treat them like facts.

Yet, this billboard report:


The business is getting smaller.

Also, you still haven’t addressed the concept of increased ticket prices, and their part in the total sales numbers. If concert ticket prices have doubled or tripled in 10 years, wouldn’t the overall music industry be WAY up? That is it only marginally up suggests that all other parts of the music business are WAY down.

By grouping all things “music related” into a single bucket, you can imply that music is making more money, but the reality is that in most areas of the music industry, sales are way down and dropping, when they should be way up, based on public consumption of music.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“By grouping all things “music related” into a single bucket, you can imply that music is making more money, but the reality is that in most areas of the music industry, sales are way down and dropping”

If you pulled your head out of whatever ass it’s in, be it yours or the RIAA’s, you’d have noticed that Mike said the money is shifting within ‘the industry’. ‘The industry’ encompasses all things “music related,” so it is appropriate to group them together, especially to show that ‘the industry’ is not losing money like they would have you believe. The reason sales in certain areas of ‘the industry’ are way down and dropping, is a sign of a market SHIFT (there’s that word again, odd…). The market (consumers, in case you didn’t know) are speaking up to tell ‘the industry’ that they don’t want to buy what ‘the industry’ is selling anymore, in the only way they can, by not buying it. Free market capitalism is trying to do what it’s supposed to do here, but ‘the industry’ fears the change that’s coming, and are trying to cling to the old market as long as they can.

Erik (profile) says:

Physical Media or Business Related?

I’m seeing a two-fold set of issues in that poorly titled op-ed piece that have little to do with the RIAA dinosaur itself.

1) Languishing business model – the entertainment biz has yet to figure out the online model and a change in royalty revenues.

2) Of course CD sales are down, who isn’t straying away from physical mediums these days; when you’re carrying around a hard-drive in your pocket and can stream media directly to your TV/device/computer/magic box.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Luckily, even if your hard drive fails, since you only bought the rights to listen to a local copy of the songs and not the actual songs, and your rights didn’t fail, you can just email the appropriate Label and they’ll gladly allow you to re-download your songs.

..wait, what? They don’t let you? How odd.

fogbugzd says:

What's semi-related?

The article that was linked to was a classic example of a “journalist” picking some facts from obviously biased source without making any really meaningful insights of his own. He also ignored some huge points. For example, might the weak economy have something to do with weak sales in an industry that is pretty much 100% discretionary spending? Did he consider that teenagers have turned their discretionary spending to things like video games?

He did make one good point at the end of his article. The music he was listening to was released in 1999. Might the decline have something to do with the fact that the RIAA companies are mostly turning out formula pablum music that isn’t very interesting.

Henderson NV (user link) says:

It’s just a shift brought on by technology. Technology makes it so much easier, quicker, and cost effective to distribute music. So why don’t they figure out a model to embrace the shift? And music is more than what one buys at the record store or downloads from iTunes. In every major city across the country and world there are live venues and revenues associated with those venues.

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