Technology Could Bring About the End of the Music Industry as We Know It

Technology Could Bring About the End of the Music Industry as We Know It

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Is this the end of music as we know it? Of course not. For over 50,000 years (that we know of) music has been a part of our lives and it will stay a part of our lives until our apocalyptic end. But are we facing the end of music as an industry? Possibly. This question has been on the tip of musicians, industry insiders, and music mogul’s minds for the past few years. Why so scared? Well, through the eighties, nineties, and all the way up to the new millennium, the publics’ need for popular music was at an all time high; album sales were through the roof and world records were being broken. From Michael Jackson to Whitney Houston, Garth Brooks to Britney Spears, artists saw their work sell anywhere from ten million copies to a staggering thirty million copies. The people seemed to love the music (near 800 million albums sold per year) and we know the record execs loved the money. But with the latest technological advancements, we’ve seen those same artists have trouble getting their albums to sell even two million copies – and this has got the music market shaking in their boots. File sharing, new audio formats, music quality, and more have all been offered as theories to why the music market has declined so drastically. But which one is the real cause?
Everyone knows that sharing/downloading music off the internet is “unethical” and that there are potential risks involved - but as Americans, it’s difficult to not take advantage of a free thing and that is why we haven’t stopped downloading over 20 billion songs per year. The music sharing phenomenon took off in the late nineties, as the internet was becoming increasingly popular, and a peer-to-peer file sharing network called Napster debuted online and helped jumpstart...

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All these theories have somewhat contributed to the steady fall in album sales -2007 has seen some of the lowest sales in history and there seems to be no end in sight. As vinyl records lost popularity in nineties, physical CD’s are losing popularity now - which brings up one more question, what’s next? What seems to be the only way to save the music industry would be a new financial model; the industry needs to find a way to adapt to the growing demand in digital sales. Lowering digital single prices to 5 cents and digital album sales to 99 cents is a possibility. Finding a new technological advance is another. Either way, the music industry needs to find a way to get the people more involved and get them excited for music again as they were twenty years ago – which I’m sure in given time, they will do.
Long live the industry. Long live music.

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