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April 21st, 2007   Music Industry Overview

Over the years the music industry has faced and fought many changes. Changes that have threatened to undermine its stranglehold on market share in an industry that often contradicts itself. For a global industry worth an estimated $$$$ per year in sales there is a lot to be protected.

For an artist to become popular and profitable they need to reach as large an audience as possible, hence the music companies providing "free" copies of their current artist's hit to every radio station they can find to get airtime and create "popularity". This then generates sales of the artist and lots of money for everyone involved (although some artists may disagree).

CD to mp3 conversion software is an example of how easily this can be accomplished. Music and movie piracy is rife. The ease of copying and sharing music/movie files over the internet is quick and easy. Regnow is a program which is easy to use and allows you to do this.  There is a plethora of free software available to help the music pirate convert and transmit their music collection across an increasingly speedy and anonymous internet, and then search for anything new they would like to add to their collection.


On the other hand these same "free" transmission mediums, such as radio, have lead to consumers (pirates?) using technology to copy and replay songs for free. This started in the 70's and 80's with the introduction of "tape recorders" that people could use to bypass the profit stage and create the so called "mixed tape". Record companies in the 80's started to put stickers on albums "taping is killing the record industry" to try to educate people to this and reduce the frequency.


It should be no surprise then, that in this age of digital transmission, music has again come to the  ore as an industry under attack. With internet access on the rise and the popularity of free file transfer programs such as bit-torrent and Limewire, the copying and sharing of music has become easy and instant.


Sales of protected legal music via the internet is increasing, site such as yourmusic.com, rhapsody.com, and emusic.com
will sell you songs for as little as 33c each. But as mp3 players become cheap and easier to use, the digital rights software music retailers have tried to use to control the sharing of digital music is fast becoming a failed experiment.

Some industry pundits have floated the idea of making the ISP responsible for their customer's internet habits. Identifying and berating frequent users, implementing laws to remove internet access and even phone lines from repeat offenders - unwieldy scare-tactics at best.

Has the horse bolted?

Statistics are showing a significant trend towards increased usage of not only pirated music but the internet in general. Over the next few years internet speeds will see increases 20 fold. The amount of data a person can download and the speed at which they can get it will only increase pressure on the music and movie industries to come up with strategies to mitigate the increased losses they are facing. Strategies need to be developed now to deal with the ease of copying and distributing the content they spend a lot of money producing.

Although 2006 saw an increase in Australian Sales for CD's (up 8% from 2005), there is an upward trend in internet spending in general, up 24% in 2006 representing $102 billion in the US alone. If you add this rise to the ease with which purchased music can be obtained and used from the comfort of your home it is no surprise to see online sales of music jump almost 3 times in 2006 as compared to previous years.

EMI has been rumored to be in talks to open up their music catalogue for sale in mp3 format with digital rights protection removed. EMI is giving customers the right to buy a song and then load it on any number of MP3 music devices. It will be interesting to follow this turnaround on policy to see if it pays off for EMI, and to see if others follow.

What will the future hold?

The tables are starting to turn. Sites such as www.honc.biz are starting to spring up as artists use the power of the internet to get their music heard. Bands are increasingly adopting this new technology and offering free music downloads to anyone for the price of a website and monthly web hosting. Bands are being offered unprecedented markets for their music. This is a cheap and easy way to not only get their music heard but retain control over their art.
 
As more and more music finds its way from the internet to mainstream radio, the traditional music company will find its stranglehold on new talent reduced, with more power put back into the hands on the musician. They will always have a part to play, just not necessarily with the same level of influence and control that they have traditionally been accustomed to.

At the end of the day people want cheap, easily accessed music that they can download legally and used on multiple devices. How this will be accomplished with the approval of everyone involved is the challenge that needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed now.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

honc if you love music

 
Honc if you love music !
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