How Much Did You Spend On Music This Year

Before Santa decides whether or not to put coal in your stocking, he might give your sleeping form a cold look, poke you with one red gloved finger, and demand to know, “Did you contribute to the death of the music industry in 2014?” And you may as well say yes, because odds are you did. Did you buy CDs? Did you pay iTunes for MP3s? Or did you stream/pirate everything from your springtime pre-party dance mix to the the soundtrack of your autumn heartbreak?

That’s what I thought.

It its annual pop music round up, the Telegraph confirms that the facts are bleak and the outlook is bleaker.

The industry struggled to settle on a viable model for bringing its wares to the public. Album sales continued to slide, with 2014 looking likely to establish an all-time low, suggesting a loss of faith in long-format popular music. But single-track downloads also went into decline for the first time. The real heavyweight numbers are being delivered by streaming services such as YouTube and Spotify, most of which are free. In June, Bastille’s Pompeii was revealed to be the UK’s most streamed track, listened to online more than 26 million times. To put that in context, the UK’s biggest-selling single of all time, Elton John’s 1997 version of Candle in the Wind, has sold 4.91 million hard copies. …

Recorded music is becoming a loss leader: successful artists make their money through advertising, sponsorship, live tickets and merchandise. Long gone are the days when stars occupied ivory towers. Today’s challenge is to create through social media a sense of intimacy with the audience, to involve them so thoroughly in your life that they will talk about you even when there is nothing to talk about.

It gets worse!

Thanks to you, and people like you, the Christmas single is over.

The popularity of downloads, and the tendency for bands to get a Christmas number one with non-festive songs, has led to the demise of the one-hit wonder played every year, according to Roy Wood.

Wood, who penned Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, said he had initially expected the royalties for the song to be his “pension”, after creating it in the heyday of festive-themed records.

But, he said, the advent of the internet meant Christmas hits were no longer the cash cow of yesteryear.

You hurt Roy Wood’s feelings, you monster. (I’ve never heard of Roy Wood but in the picture he kind of looks like Hagrid.)

Okay, in seriousness, the music industry has been dying slowly and publicly for a while. “Fans Aren’t Going To Pay For Music Anymore. And That’s Ok,” claimed Digital Music News back in September. The site points out that streaming will never be cost-effective for artists, who should figure out another way.

Only the artists getting millions of plays are seeing significant, livable income solely from streaming. And most of them are with labels who take the majority (to all) of that income. … You could scream about streaming and piracy until you’re red in the face while fans and technology ignore the noise and move forward (this seems like a legitimate solution for quite a few). OR artists could look to diversify their income stream.

As Tim Gunn would say, look at the options available to you and make it work. You too, I guess, Roy Wood, whoever you are.

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