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Re: Record Industry Decline

A good analysis Matt. You just forgot one aspect, the change in music  
culture and thus implemented infra-structure. Some decades ago there  
were not many main musical styles for a label A&R to master. Back  
then it was possible for a human to stay on the cutting edge with  
"Metal", "Disco", "Pop" or whatever genre, and successfully predict  
future big selling acts. Then these original genres started to  
divide, multiply into sub genres and an endless row of new genres.  
And this kept happening with an increasing speed. And as we got more  
genres the potential consumers within each genre became less and  
quite soon even too few to motivate any serious marketing attempts.

What the major labels have always been good at is to implement "mass  
manufacturing" methods on music selling. But with this new diverse  
market situation (see above) mass manufacturing is an obsolete  
concept for selling music.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen
www.boysen.se (Swedish)
www.looproom.com (international)

On 6 jul 2007, at 06.23, Matt Davignon wrote:

> There are 3 major elements that are part of the major record labels'
> declining cd sales:
> 1) Yes, downloads. However, many of the figures that say that cd sales
> are declining are saying exactly that - cd sales are declining. Not
> necessarily music sales. Vinyl sales declined in the 80's. Now cd's
> are being replaced by digital files. The last "alarming" figures I saw
> did not account for 'legal' album sales such as Itunes.
> 2) How about this major element of cd sales - They're depending on
> bands like Linkin Park to be their flagship artists. The people making
> these decisions are not out there listening to music to the degree
> that their predecessors did. I would be adventurous enough to suggest
> that the big record labels set themselves up for decline when they
> started signing artists based on predictably successful genres and how
> much bands kind of sound like that other band that was successful a
> few years back. Now they're signing stuff a couple generations down -
> this band sound like that other band that sounds like that band I once
> really liked. Or this is the new band by those guys in Guns and Roses
> who were big in 1989. It's almost a form of inbreeding. Major label
> music now is a 4th generation cassette copy of music from 15-20 years
> ago or more. Pop music had some neat stuff in 2000 or so, but since
> then it's been sounding more and more inbred, with no real growth. In
> a discussion of this article, several friends and I tried to think of
> songs in the last 5 years that people would fondly remember 10 years
> from now. We came up with 3. One of them was "My Humps". If Jimi
> Hendrix was trying to put out his debut album this now, he'd never get
> signed on one of the big labels. They'd think he was too weird.
> 3) Album-Oriented music is going away (except on indie labels). If you
> buy a hit album today, you're much more likely to enjoy only the hit
> singles than with older albums. They're built that way. The singles
> have the talented songwriters, engineers and producers. That in itself
> wouldn't mean declining cd sales - unless we live in a culture where
> people can pick and choose which songs they're going to get (a la
> downloading) or when compilation albums (like "Now that's what I call
> Music") pool all the singles together while they're still on the
> radio. If people can get all the songs they like on a comp, they're
> going to buy fewer full length albums.
> Frankly, I'm buying more music now than I ever have. Sites like
> emusic.com encourage me to take a chance on a lot of things that I
> probably wouldn't hear otherwise. Folks just need to get used to the
> online music business model.
> Matt Davignon