Thursday, 7 November 2013

The real music industry

Musicians sometimes like to kid themselves that they are the ones with the product.
Musicians write and record material and sell it to music consumers, right?

Maybe this is how it used to be, but the tables have now turned and Musicians are now the customer.

Globally, Musicians spend in excess of $17 billion dollars per year on musical instruments and equipment.
The music services industry is a multi billion dollar industry on top of this and focuses on selling musicians websites, promotions, recording studio services, equipment rental and a myriad of other services that have sprung up to help musicians 'make it big'.
All up this industry is estimated to be worth in excess of $18 billion annually.

Now the sad part, Globally, music sales and performance rights for music came to a little over $10 billion in 2012. But that's not even the sad part, the musicians themselves only make a fraction of this $10 billion, most of which goes to the record labels and producers.

That means musicians spend well in excess of $35 billion dollars a year in order to make back a tiny percentage of a shrinking pool of $10 billion.

In case you hadn't noticed, you are the customer.

The Spotify story tells it all, there are more than 20 million songs on Spotify but only 6 million paid consumers.
There are more musicians than listeners and we wonder why the music industry is in trouble.

Most musicians have second jobs and work long hard hours to spend on their music.
This makes them an appealing target to sell to because they are passionate about music and willing to spend whatever it takes in order to 'make it'. Musicians are prepared to live on the bones of their arse while shelling out thousands of dollars to major corporates for new guitars and amplifiers, drum kits etc. Don't forget websites like Reverbnation that take millions of dollars off musicians in order to promote them to consumers.

News flash, Reverbnation has 2.5 million paid members who are all musicians trying to get noticed.
Pretty much the only people that visit Reverbnation are other musicians trying to get noticed.
So you pay Reverbnation a fee so you can get noticed by other people on Reverbnation who are also trying to get noticed.

Man, I wish I had have thought of that.

Revebnation is just one example, there are hundreds of others, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Youtube, Ampcast, TheMusicSocial, PromoteIt etc etc etc even Facebook is now vying for your dollar.

My point in all this is, be careful.
Be aware that making it in the music industry is now next to impossible simply because of the volume of other people who are also trying to do the same thing.
Be aware that the music industry is now more about exploiting musicians who are trying to make it than what it is about actually selling your music to consumers.

Add up how much you have spent on music and then add up how much you have made back from CD sales and royalties and you will see what I mean.

You are part of a $35 billion dollar industry that is focused on taking money off musicians in exchange for selling them the chance at the dream. Be careful and don't get sucked in. Most of all have fun and don't take it too seriously and then at least you won't die of depression.