MUSIC INDUSTRY STATE
Earlier this year (DATE???) alt-rockers Cake topped the Billboard 200 chart with their first album in seven (???) years, Showroom of Compassion. The album sold 44,000 copies the first week of its release, a record low for the number one hit. At the same time, Britney Spears' single “Hold It Against Me” scaled the digital song chart with 411,000 copies sold. The two charts illustrate the change in the way we listen to music. The Internet—as it did for almost everything—has radically affected the way people get music.
The Internet has cut into the music industry's profits. It reduced the demand for CDs, increased the interest in singles and let people decide whether they want to pay for the new Prince album. This alone could be offset if all of the people pirating music would go to their favorite artists' shows. However, the hard economy has rapidly cut into people's ability to spend on luxury items and concerts rank right up there with sports in terms of practicality.
This one-two punch has left the industry experimenting with different ideas trying to find their next revenue stream. No one is sure where the music industry will be in the next five years, but things are already changing. Musicians have more and more avenues to reach fan bases, and huge record companies no longer dominate the scene. This is good for musicians and even better for fans...
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...ller, more intimate venues. Think First Avenue instead of the Excel Energy Center.
The strategy helps artists because loyal fans are the ones most likely to head to shows (and buy a t-shirt). It benefits fans because they get much more back from artists they love dearly. The Gorillaz released an entire album free last Christmas as a tribute to their fans.
Artists and fans alike have been at the forefront of the music-scene revolution, and both have benefited in a number of ways. While major record labels try to find new ways to return to the years of massive profit, many artists have found new ways to connect with fans on a more personal level as well as new ways to get their music heard. Fans are discovering the perks of following artists that aren't controlled by four-record deals and corporate input. The music landscape is changing. This is a good thing.
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