The Corporate Music Industry Is Dead

The Corporate Music Industry Is Dead — Downhill Battle

Monday December 12
The Corporate Music Industry Is Dead

After decades of manipulating artists, radio, and music fans, it seems safe to say that death has come to the corporate record labels. Variety reported last week that “overall music sales during the Christmas shopping season were down an astounding 21% from last year.” No industry can survive a drop like that, especially on the heels of a similarly terrible year and decade. Trouble for the big labels will continue to accelerate as big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart further cut the shelf space that they devote to CDs.

Expect to see the four major labels slashing their operations over the next few months. These labels will probably make a some last gasp moves: dramatic online music giveaways and desperate attempts to get artists to sign over their tour and merchandise revenue. But the trend towards decentralization, self-publishing, and direct artist-fan relationships is simply too strong. There will continue to be a role for online music stores and companies that offer promotional services for artists, but the days of labels owning musicians appears to finally be fading.

Stumble It!

2 thoughts on “The Corporate Music Industry Is Dead

  1. At long last the RIAA’s stranglehold on musicians is ending. I actually read an article recently about Warner Music Group or Universal Music Group saying the label was going to start pocketing concert money from some of their artists, as Downhill Battle has predicted the RIAA is making some last gasp moves to maintain its monopoly by taking promotional tour and concert money from musicians.

    Also, a recent article that Defective By mentioned on their site highlights a RIAA/MPAA lawyer saying he doesn’t believe the content companies should be obligated to provide perpetual access to creative works citing as a poor example the fact that when consumers buy electronics products like computers the manufacturer is not obligated to provide permanent support of said computer if it breaks down and is more than say 5 years old. However, Defective By Design a campaign against DRM run b y the Free Software Foundation noted computers are not sold crippled with digital restrictions that make them defective by design — they may break down eventually but through natural problems that occur over time — selling something crippled though and revoking access to the crippled product later on is ridiculous.

    When you buy a DVD the sellers of the DVD can’t change the terms of the sale on the buyer after purchase and/or revoke access to the DVD. What is the value of the DVD anyway — when consumers buy music on CD or DVD are they just paying for a plastic disc — do they have any rights to rip, mix, burn the digital files on the disc. This is a fair use concern — they don’t want consumers to be able to time shift content.

    With DRMed music or video purchases online though if you buy DRMed iTunes music (now they have iTunes Plus of course DRM free but if you previously owned iTunes bought music with DRM Apple holds you hostage for 30 cents per track or 30 cents per song to upgrade) later the content owner can change the terms of the sale without the consumer’s permission and even revoke access to and/or take back the content.

    Imagine a shop owner of a DVD store coming into your home insisting you return the DVD you bought from that store because the distributor responsible for distributing the DVD to the shop as well as manufacturing it wants it back — that would be laughable and isn’t likely to happen in fact it cannot happen. With content bought with DRM online though it is possible.

    From what I hear the quote “legal music download market” is growing thanks not only to Apple’s iTunes Store but competing digital storefronts like Amazon MP3 which has undercut iTunes sometimes on price and of course being DRM free works with the iTunes player, iPods, iPhones, Apple TVs etc for music playback and/or competing devices.

    Amazon MP3 though is not the only so called “legal music download store” there is also Verizon’s VCast Music Store for Verizon Wireless subscribers that now also sells DRM free MP3s — in the past I have tried iTunes, Amazon MP3 and VCast Music for acquiring DRM free music (since iTunes Plus came) just the same there is still a market also for file sharing and I am slowly transitioning back into the world of peer 2 peer file sharing.

    I don’t buy RIAA music anymore and hardly ever do I pay money to MPAA film studios. I now support independent musicians and the work of Downhill to which I donated some money last year and to file sharers thru the Downhill Battle P2P Legal Defense Fund to help them out as they struggle with RIAA lawsuits.

    I am becoming more hopeful and supportive of a free culture and am considering running Linux soon.

  2. Pingback: Nokia Music Store [Seen One, Seen Em All] - Shaun Dewberry

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