Apparently, Someone Forgot To Tell Reality That The Entertainment Industry Was Dying

from the data,-data,-data dept

We hear it all the time: the entertainment industry legacy players insist that the world is ending, jobs are going away, and that they need new laws like SOPA and PIPA or it’s all over. That’s why SOPA & PIPA are being positioned as jobs bills. Especially popular are the major labels and the big Hollywood studios insisting that they’re really doing this not to save their own companies from having to adapt, but to protect the poor, poor indie creator, who is totally being destroyed by those evil online pirates. We hear time and time again about how it’s really the “indie” folks who are being decimated.

Funny thing: reality says otherwise.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has some pretty nice tools and a neat table of jobs in various industry sectors in 1998, 2008 and then projected in 2018. Let’s take a look at the entertainment industry, shall we?

Why yes, that does show that the industry grew nicely from 1998 to 2008… all the while we were being told it was being decimated by piracy and no one could find work any more. Oh, and check out that last line. Independent artists, writers and performers jumped from 35.2k in 1998 to 50.4k in 2008 — the first decade of real mainstream internet infringement (Napster arrived in ’99). If you’re not quick with the percentages, that’s a pretty astounding 43.2% growth rate. And, it appears the BLS continues to think that jobs in that sector are going to grow over the next decade as well. Damn those pesky facts.

Of course, for those of us who have been following/reporting on this for pretty much all of that time, this isn’t surprising at all. What we’ve seen is an explosion in opportunities for independent artists. Before all of this happened, it was much more difficult to be an indie artist, because the major labels and studios really were the gatekeepers. It was almost impossible to succeed without them. These days, however, it’s become a choice, and there are so many ways to succeed that don’t require the majors. It’s no wonder that many more people are making a living as an indie artist than ever before.

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Comments on “Apparently, Someone Forgot To Tell Reality That The Entertainment Industry Was Dying”

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65 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Total missed the point Mike

Look at the Promoters of Events, Agents and Managers. It increases 21 thousand jobs but the output remains constant. So there fore the **AA is right, they are loosing money. Way to twist the facts to only support your point of view.

You piratephile.

/Troll
[Also i really hope this makes top comments for the week]

Anonymous Coward says:

SOPA is not intent on stopping piracy, it’s intent on preventing people from independently succeeding without an artificially needed gatekeeper. It’s exactly what the monopoly cartels have managed to do outside the Internet through bad laws (ie: govt granted broadcasting and cableco monopolies and laws that deter restaurants and other venues from hosting independent performers by making it legally too risky and expensive).

SOPA is just an expansion of the governments overall efforts to grant anti-competitive laws in almost every industry possible as an attempt to advance income inequality.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, they want to control the whole industry. They see sharing as customers they’re entitled to and they’re not getting. So they throw a fit and demand more oppressive laws to stop it. They also want to be in control of all of the content creation because they don’t want competitors. Competition forces prices down and they want prices high so they feel they are making more money, when in fact they’re just cutting out entire market segments that can’t afford their goods.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

With the rate at which tablets and smartphone video editing apps and web sites are appearing. It is only a matter of time before they start facing serious competition from a sizable chunk of the population.

Something has to give soon. I was hoping that SOPA would pass for the simple reason, we need that one straw that breaks the camels back. SOPA passing could force copyright law to be fixed with massive scrutiny from the public, input from the tech sector, legal scholars, and consumer organizations.

Axel Mueller says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

*That* Econ 101 theorem don’t work for the music industry, though: they found that going along with internet freedom and lowering prices for individual units of service boosted their revenue by making access to service universal, quick, and age-independent. Even 8-year olds with their parents’ CC’s get songs on their iPods on iTunes. It’s a new situation, where the technology of supply and demand needs to be taken seriously in order ot really grow fatter. The irony is that the Media moguls live in the 20th cty and in mirages of total control. Must be because they watch too many bad movies…

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

In a fun bit of confluence, The Fine Bros. (creators of the Kids React series and a perfect example of the kind of independent content producers the Internet has given a platform to) just released a new video explaining their schedule for 2012, and it has the following interesting tidbit in regards to their new large-scale project:

“As long-time viewers know, we’ve always had dreams to get to television, and now, thanks to all of your support, all of you subscribers sharing our videos, we don’t have to wait. We can just make the show ourselves, independently, and it’s coming this spring, thanks to YouTube.”

It’s a brave new world, and I’m incredibly decided to see its bounty — assuming the legacy gatekeepers don’t screw it all up in a Phyrric attempt to save their stagnant business models.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Oh yeah, because people do change so well. Ever tried to replace stereo equipment for some one over 50? It is like trying to heard toddlers to nap time.

Younger people (think under 20) will have an easier time as the world they live in changes every couple of hours. Sadly it will most likely take 30 or years when the current generation is old enough to run the country for the world to be brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

MonkeyFracasJr (profile) says:

Re: Re: ".. when the current generation is old enough ..."

When the current generation is old enough to run things they will find ways to F**K it up that will boggle your mind. The “current” generation is always the one who seems to “get it” and yet when they get to the age where they begin to take the controls they immediately throw every good and well considered thought out of the nearest window. I saw it happen to the ‘boomers, I saw it happen to Gen’X, and I expect to see it happen over and over again as long as our society is centered around financial wealth and physical beauty.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re: ".. when the current generation is old enough ..."

If GenX has already taken over, nobody mentioned it to me. I’m still waiting for the boomers to retire before I can get that nice cushy job for a few years before it gets outsourced by the aging boomers who are still around to “manage” things.

MonkeyFracasJr (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ".. when the current generation is old enough ..."

You’re right they haven’t taken over, but they are beginning to filter in. Any who I know that are in a position or have interest in “running things” have long sing lost any intelligent or open thinking they may have possessed during their college years (or younger.)
I think namely, their idealism is gone. They have no interest in making the world a better place, just a better place for themselves and people like themselves.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ".. when the current generation is old enough ..."

If GenX has already taken over, nobody mentioned it to me.

I wish I knew which generation I was.

I missed the tail end of the boomers by a year or two and I’m too old to be in the GenX group. Raised on peace, love and flowers and then corrupted by the “Me, me, me” and greed mantras of the 80’s. The social acceptance of casual drug use gave way to “Just say no” around the time I graduated high school. “Make love, not war” morphed into the “carry a big stick” foreign policy of the Reagan era.

Maybe we should be labeled “The Confused Generation” with all the mixed signals we received.

call me al says:

independent output

It is worth noting though that while the number of people involved in Indie work has massively increased the output has not increased by anywhere near as much. So you have more people splitting a not much larger pie.

But then again those people must be willing to do that or they wouldn’t be in that industry.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: independent output

Well, I see your point but even if the pie didn’t grow as much (you see, ppl have only that much money to spend on entertainment) I’d guess it’s just a matter of how much is a lot. It: if those 50k indies earn 70k per year and the bigger artists get 10 million instead of 50 then I think it’s not a problem. How much do you need to live well anyway? I’d say the pie grew with the economy and was redistributed. So the big fishes earn less so that the smaller fishes can earn money too. And honestly, you don’t need to make millions as an artist to be successful. I don’t need to earn millions to live well. If I could double my monthly wage today I’d be ok for the rest of my life (with a few annual corrections to meet the inflation rates lmao).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: independent output

Even with the relatively slow growth (in comparison to other entertainment sectors) of the independent sector output that still translates to about 418,000 dollars per year which seems like more than enough money for an independent artist to cover expenses and taxes and still make well over 100k. Not a bad gig all thing considered.

Loki says:

but to protect the poor, poor indie creator who is totally being destroyed by those evil pirates online

Really? Funny, because I know a lot of poor, poor indie creators, and most of them complain about being destroyed, not by piracy, but by large content conglomerates who (to quote a friend) “cock-block most of the alternative distribution methods they can in an effort to force us to relinquish our copyrights”.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Way to prove their point, Mike

See, there you go tossing out facts to totally prove their point. From 1998 to 2008, the music and movie industry* lost 10 THOUSAND jobs and 3.5 BILLION dollars. And you say laws loke SOPA/PIPA aren’t needed. Seriously folks, can’t you see the truth here????

* the “music and movie industry” only includes “Performing arts companies”. Those other entries on the chart are misclassified entries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Way to prove their point, Mike

Try people stopped buying corporate music and decided that rather than risk their money on 2 good songs, 10 filler or over priced T&A movies with stupidly expensive popcorn, they bought videogames. NES? Just an intro, Sega Genesis – skyrocketed the games. Then you have N64 and Playstation. Etc… people redirected their funds because they wanted something different than what was offered at that price and given the industry has been charged with price fixing in the past, we know it was NOT market prices!

So naturally people turned to free, and many still bought and went to concerts. Those jobs were also due to offshore manufacturing and consolidation into just a few “all you need” stores like HMV (owned by big corps).

Some is due to people choosing free, yes, but SOME, not ALL.

How about more granular data to show WHEN the jobs were cut, then you’d see they correspond to profits increasing, and not to filesharing on the web!

Get the real data to back it up, oh right, you can’t, because the industry will hold that secret so you can’t prove they are lying!

Chris says:

Re: Way to prove their point, Mike

Well considering that the independent artist/writer/performer category gained over 15k jobs and almost $2 billion, I think things are finally starting to head in the right direction.

Independent artists tend to charge slightly less for their product, but they do stand to make more than if they were in the clutches of a major label/producer/whatever.

And of course your point is pretty valid – IF you take it completely out of context. Which basically invalidates the data anyway.

Either way, there’s not enough information in this chart to really make any solid conclusions. But to me, it looks like a positive, not a negative.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, aren’t you the one who calls the movie studioes and music labels antiquated legacy industries? Which is it? Are they flourishing growth industries or irrelevant has beens? You can’t have it both ways!

I think we are all smart enough to recognize the fact that the “arts, entertainment and recreation” category includes much more than movie studios and music labels. Americans spend more on entertainment now than before but their are more choices so the portion spent on movies and music might in fact going down while their overall entertainment budget is increasing.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Re:

Mike, aren’t you the one who calls the movie studioes and music labels antiquated legacy industries? Which is it? Are they flourishing growth industries or irrelevant has beens? You can’t have it both ways!

Either people are spending less money on entertainment because of piracy OR they are are spending more money on entertainment but not spending it on YOU. You can’t have it both ways!

Americans spend more on entertainment now than before but their are more choices so the portion spent on movies and music might in fact going down while their overall entertainment budget is increasing.

DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! They are spending money on entertainment DESPITE piracy. As an entertainment company, you need to figure out how to steer those dollars your way. Not by getting inane laws passed that won’t address the problem, but by, oh, you know, innovating.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Why is it that YOU think that everyone who is opposed to piracy must work for the entertainment industry? I work for a business software company, not in any way affiliated with the entertainment industry. That would be like someone claiming that everyone who has a problem with the recording industry must be a pirate. Stereotyping and generalizations work both ways.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 11:21am
Why is it that YOU think that everyone who is opposed to piracy must work for the entertainment industry?…….That would be like someone claiming that everyone who has a problem with the recording industry must be a pirate.”

And yet we get that every…single….day….

Go through the comments…..If you aren’t for SOPA then you are a dirty pirate…..

Even on the articles that are Mike trying to point to different ways to take advantage of this new distribution channel, it’s still somewhere buried in the comments…”Pirate Mike”.

Now that we have THAT out of the way….let’s get down to actual discussion please.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Touche. I don’t think everyone opposed to piracy works for the entertainment industry. But they are the vocal majority.

Thing is, on this blog, with the known exception of averagejoe, the folks who most ardently support these half-baked ideas of legislation are (I suspect) apologists for the entertainment industry. Either that or they are trolls.

So take what I said and make it 2nd person. The concept still applies. People are spending more money on entertainment in spite of piracy. Stopping piracy will not lead to more dollars being spent on entertainment, so those companies need to find a better way to get people to direct their entertainment dollars.

You made a very valid point when you said that people have far more choices for their entertainment dollars and that’s a good thing. It promotes competition, which is healthy. Companies need to embrace healthy competition instead of trying to stifle it.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Thing is, on this blog, with the known exception of averagejoe, the folks who most ardently support these half-baked ideas of legislation are (I suspect) apologists for the entertainment industry. Either that or they are trolls.

Why does it have to be one or the other? In fact I think the list of descriptions is by no means limited to those two things…

We have:
entertainment industry apologists
trolls

But let’s not forget:
willfully ignorant
intellectually dishonest
shill
paid shill
IP maximalist
troglodyte
mongoloid

And we can throw a few more in for fun:
paytard
fascist
scientologist
unbathed
wife beater

Reminds me of madlibs…

Thing is, on this blog, with the known exception of averagejoe, the folks who most ardently support these half-baked ideas of legislation are (I suspect) paytard, mongoloid apologists for the intellectually dishonest, IP maximalist industry. Either that or they are willfully ignorant, wife beating, fascist trolls. Or all of the above!

FTFY 😀

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m no expert, but Adobe and Microsofts findings in piracy for buisness apps still seem relevant to me(Opinion).
(Pirates getting ‘familiarized’ with the software and later on ending up buying/advising employer to buy/recommend to friends and relatives etc etc).

iunno, i guess it depends on what kind of buisness software yer into.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well I would also point out that no one with a brain would run a company and knowingly pirate software for their company to use. Sure you can get away with it but all it takes is one audit to destroy your company that you worked hard to build all because of some stolen software. People with brains enough to make a company worth having recognize this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Adobe would certainly understand this. They saturate the home market in free software so people are comfortable with it and then charge a shitton to businesses. Why would they cares if you pirate adobe pro on your home computer? You (or your company) are gonna pay out the ass to put it on your work computer.

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

If you combine “Motion picture, video, and sound recording industries” and “Arts, entertainment, and recreation” together, you get a total of 2.235 million jobs and a chained output of 260 billion dollars in 2008. The construction, food, chemical manufacturing, computer and electronic product manufacturing, and
transportation equipment manufacturing industries all had greater output.

“Automotive repair and maintenance” is bigger than “Motion picture, video, and sound recording industries” in terms of jobs and output. But we have to protect the legacy entertainment sector.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Please don't insult your readers

Notice the “IF” in the sentence you quoted. IF!
Not all of us can quickly calculate percentages in our head just like that. So I appreciate Mike doing that, saved me having to reach for a calculator.
Now, if you could calculate it in your head, then good for you! Mommy and Daddy must be very proud! I’ll send you a gold star in the mail, and a trophy, because its clear that not enough people are praising you for your IQ.

(In case someone says I’m too harsh…I was the exact same way as a kid. Child prodigy and all that, and I had an arrogance level to match my IQ. Eventually, I discovered the wonders of humility).

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