from the probably-not dept
It certainly seems like a reasonable prediction that we'll see growth in live performance relative to studio performance. But Stensrud's overall prediction seems unduly grim. There's plenty of evidence that the Internet has benefitted classical music by introducing more people to the genre. And it seems pretty implausible that studio performances will disappear completely. If there's a demand for studio recordings, someone is going to figure out how to meet that demand profitably, whether that's through an ad-supported streaming service or as a way to promote the sale of products like musical instruments. Also, we should remember that most major orchestras depend on charitable contributions, so if it's really the case that it will be impossible to make studio recordings profitably (which seems unlikely) the same wealthy patrons who subsidize orchestras now are likely to step up to help pay for the costs of some studio recordings. Perhaps we'll see fewer studio recordings than we did in the 20th century, but studio recordings aren't going to disappear.
Still, Stensrud's fundamental point seems sound: in the 20th century, many classical musicians supported themselves by selling copies of recorded music. In the future, that's probably the wrong approach. Instead, musicians should free their music in order to increase sales of other products and services, such as music lessons, live performances, and (for the most successful) product endorsements.