by Dennis Yang
Thu, Jul 29th 2010 6:10am
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 11th 2010 10:37am
from the predicting-the-end dept
Year: $ in MillionsIt's a great list, but I felt it could be even more powerful as a graph, so I just threw the following together, based on the info above:
1993: 10046.6 (CD players started to get more affordable towards mid-year)
1999: 14651 (Work made for hire controversy)
2000: 14404 (Napster sued into bankruptcy)
2001: 13700 (Ipod came out October 2001)
2002: 12,614.2 (Price Fixing lawsuit hits RIAA)
2003: 11,854.4 (Grokster lawsuit, "induced infringement" introduced) (Mass lawsuits by RIAA start(AKA: The education campaign))
2004: 12,345.0 [Revenue Physical / Digital] (BMG gets out of the music business, sold to Sony later on: Big 5 becomes Big 4 for RIAA)
2005: 12,296.9 [91%/9%]
2006: 11,758.2 [83.9%/16.1%]
2007: 10,370.0 [77%/23%]
2008: 8,768.4 [66%/34%] (RIAA declares it's going to stop mass lawsuits with member money problems and EMI almost bankrupt)
2009: 7,690.0 [59%/41%] (Massive layoffs hit RIAA around Febuary: Blames piracy)
http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html (statistics from 90's to 2001)
http://184.108.40.206/81128FFD-028F-282E-1CE5-FDBF16A46388.pdf (Statistics for 97 to 2007)
- If you're not familiar with the "works for hire" scandal, you can read the full background here. Basically, a Congressional staffer by the name of Mitch Glazier snuck a tiny unnoticed amendment into a much larger bill in the middle of the night -- supposedly at the request of the RIAA -- without telling anyone. It effectively changed the definition of music recordings into "works made for hire," which was really important, because it meant the RIAA labels could hang onto musicians' copyrights for much longer, avoiding termination rights that let musicians reclaim their copyrights. Just a few months later, Glazier left his low-paying Congressional staffer job for a $500,000 job with the RIAA, which I believe he still holds ten years later. Thankfully, people quickly recognized what he had done and Congress had to go back and fix Glazier's sneaky wording. However, it is worth noting that the peak of this chart is right when Glazier inserted his infamous four words.
- As we discussed last fall, now that musicians do have termination rights, they're lining up to use them and take their copyrights back from the labels. They can start getting the copyrights back in 2013. If you're looking for a date when the bottom totally falls out for the RIAA labels, that may be it. When the rights to their back catalog starts to drop out, this chart looks even worse. The RIAA won't give up easily, of course. The latest stunt they're trying to pull is to "re-record" albums, claiming that it creates a brand new copyright, that gives them another 35 years before termination rights are applicable. That is, of course, ridiculous, but the RIAA will likely try to fight it out in court for many years to extend that 2013 deadline by a few more years. Of course, all that money on legal fees could have gone to innovating, but that's just not the RIAA way.
- Note that digital music sales is not even close to being a savior. The total is still dropping rapidly.
- Of course, many have argued that the rise and fall may have a lot more to do with CD replacements of previous formats -- and this chart certainly suggests that could be an explanation. The big jump happened right when CDs became affordable, and people needed to go out and replace their vinyl and cassette (and 8-track!) collections. After a few years of that, it makes sense that the market should drop anyway.
- Once again, it's important to point out that the chart above is not the entire music industry, but a limited segment of it: the RIAA record labels, mainly comprised of the big four record labels. It doesn't take into account all of the other aspects of the music business -- nearly every single one of which has been growing during this same period. It also doesn't take into account the vast success stories of independent artists and labels doing creative business models and routing around the legacy gatekeepers.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 4th 2010 5:28pm
from the but-free-doesn't-work!!!! dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 9th 2010 6:45am
from the well,-look-at-that dept
Brian O'Leary discussed his firm's research on the effect on sales when a title finds its way into an unsanctioned online market. The findings -- a significant jump in sales -- have surprised many in the business.To be fair, he does go on to say this doesn't mean just "don't worry about" unauthorized access. Instead, he says it's important to figure out what kind of unauthorized access helps sales and what kind hurts -- and that still needs to be studied. But, the early results certainly suggest that the stuff that helps quite often outweighs the stuff that hurts (sometimes by quite a bit).
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 25th 2010 11:38am
from the say-what-now dept
Of course, it then gets even more ridiculous:
Not all of that lost revenue was profit. That album revenue was partly subsidizing the discovery and publishing of new music, which in turn created new buyers of music, tour tickets, posters, t-shirts, and so on. That revenue in turn helped develop that artist's next venture, and discover yet other artists. Significantly decreased revenues breaks the cycle that helps find new talent that will generate more revenue.And yet, as we've seen more new music is being made today than ever before in history, so it's not like this is really harming the production of new music. And this totally ignores how the internet has totally changed the economics of discovering, publishing and distributing new music -- such that you don't need to rely on the major record labels to seek out new music for you. And, even if you do rely on major labels to "discover" the next big thing, new technologies have made that much cheaper for the industry as well. They now have the internet to help them find bands and judge their buzz and sound even without having first found them at a club as was often done in the past. To ignore all of those other impacts seems highly questionable, and puts a cloud over the research as a whole. Besides, just thinking about it logically makes it ridiculous to think that iTunes has somehow limited new music discovery. For many, many, many people, it seems likely that it has increased new music discovery, and done so by taking the record labels somewhat (not entirely) out of that loop.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 25th 2010 8:01am
from the it's-out-there dept
Last week, we wrote a post about an interview with Tommy Boy Entertainment boss, Tom Silverman, claiming that just 14 unsigned artists "broke the obscurity line," -- which was defined as sales of 10,000 albums. Amusingly, three days after this post, I met Silverman on an airplane over the Atlantic... and only realized it was him when he started talking to the guy seated next to me about my post not realizing who I was (small freaking world). We had a brief, but quite enjoyable conversation, and while I see his point, I'm still not convinced his conclusion is correct on the issue of breaking artists (his view of business models, however, seems right on). Meanwhile, in the comments to our post, Peter Wells from TuneCore disputed Tom's numbers. Since then, both have expanded on the discussion.
Tom provided more details on the number of totally independent success stories (decreasing the sum from 14 to 12 due to the fact that they had mischategorized 2 of the bands) over at the MusicianCoaching.com site. He then went on to claim that the long tail doesn't seem to be working for the music business:
Clearly the ease of making and distributing music does not benefit "breaking" music. Breaking music requires mass exposure which requires luck or money or both. I can say with great authority that less new music is breaking now in America than any other time in history. Technology has not helped more great music rise to the top, it has inhibited it. I know this is a bold statement but it is true.Certainly bold words, though they did not address my original criticism with the point -- which is that number of albums sold is a poor measure of "obscurity" (or non-obscurity, as the case may be). As I said then: "You don't have to sell albums to become well known, and just because you're well known, it doesn't mean you sell albums. It's not the best proxy for figuring this stuff out." This week, at Midem, musician Hal Ritson of The Young Punx put it much more succinctly: "Sales are not how you measure success any more. You figure out how to get as many people as possible to hear your music, and then you figure out if you're profitable." Also, I still think it's wrong to only count totally independent artists in this list, because many artists signed to labels (both indie and majors) may use new technology to help breakout (with or without massive support from their labels).
Either way, even beyond that, it looks like Silverman's numbers may be suspect.
I have to say that
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 7th 2010 8:23am
Warner Bros. Gets Netflix To Delay Movies; You Don't Save Your Business By Pissing Off Your Customers
from the this-is-a-mistake dept
So, the compromise is getting Netflix to delay the rentals in exchange for more streaming content.
It's hard to express just how bad an idea this is for Warner Bros., and how far out of touch with their customers they must be to think this makes any sense from a business standpoint. What they are saying is that they are not going to give in to customer demand and offer them what they want, but actually make it more difficult, more annoying and more confusing for them to get what they want -- and (at the same time!) screwing up basic marketing plans as well. Now, when movies are released on DVD and the large group of people who prefers renting to buying goes online to their Netflix account to do so, they won't be able to. Four weeks later, they'll be looking for something else. And, for those who simply want to see it right away, they're now more likely to get it in an unauthorized manner.
Under what set of logic would it ever make sense to give the customer less of what they want in an era when increased competition from other sources is causing them to already wonder if they should buy your product?
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 28th 2009 3:49am
Amazon Announces It Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Christmas... But Doesn't It Mean Rented?
from the it-ain't-a-purchase-if-you-don't-own-it dept
But, again, since this is the Kindle we're talking about, shouldn't Amazon make the distinction between purchased and rented? When someone buys a physical book from Amazon, they then own that book and can do pretty much what they want with it, including reselling it or giving it away. When they "purchase" an ebook from Amazon, that's not the case at all. They're quite limited in what they can do with it. They can't resell it. They can't share it with a friend (unless they give up their entire Kindle and all the books on it). And, of course, Amazon can make the ebook disappear at will -- though, it insists it will never do this again. Even though it can. So, congrats to Amazon, for renting more books on a day when such rentals are to be expected and when physical book sales are probably at their very lowest.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 18th 2009 7:39pm
from the but-on-the-other-other-hand dept
As an author myself, I, too, am terrified by the thought of piracy. I can't stand seeing my books, which are the primary source of my income, posted on all these piracy Web sites, available for anyone to download free.Now, it's worth noting that it really was just last year that Pogue insisted that publishing digital versions of his books was a terrible idea, because he had tried it twice and they were pirated all over the web. So it's really nice to see that he's actually come to his senses and realized that piracy does not automatically mean lost sales, and he was willing to run an experiment and actually look at the empirical data.
When I wrote about my concerns a year ago, my readers took me to task. "For all you know," went their counterargument, "the illegal copies are just advertising for you; people will download them, try them out, then go by the physical book. Either that, or they're being downloaded by people who would not have bought your book anyway. Why don't you try a controlled experiment and see?"
Well, it sounded like it could be a very costly experiment. But I agreed. My publisher, O'Reilly, decided to try an experiment, offering one of my Windows books for sale as an unprotected PDF file.
After a year, we could compare the results with the previous year's sales.
The results? It was true. The thing was pirated to the skies. It's all over the Web now, ridiculously easy to download without paying.
The crazy thing was, sales of the book did not fall. In fact, sales rose slightly during that year.
He's still not totally convinced however -- as he notes that the reason his experiment worked was because it drove sales of the physical (paper) book. But he's worried that when more people have ebook readers, then things might change. Of course, at the time of that last column, we used it to point out that the mistake was in thinking that "give it away and pray" is a business model. It's not. Instead, you have to give people a reason to buy, and "hey, because I want you to" isn't a particularly good one. Instead, the focus should be on adding real value. Again, this is a situation where O'Reilly is pretty good. We were just discussing how one of the "reasons to buy" it offers is the ability to buy into "living books" that keep updating, so your copy isn't out of date. In that case, what they're really selling isn't the content, so much as the convenience and the knowledge that the information will always be the latest, without requiring any additional work or checking. There are lots of ways to compete with piracy that don't involve locking the content down in a customer-unfriendly way.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Nov 25th 2009 3:15pm