Music Revenue Climbs for the First Time in Years

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Music piracy flagFifteen years ago, the music industry was an almost $40 billion business, and then Napster, the CD burner, and the iPod happened. No longer were people limited by copying music in real time, one copy at a time, and online networks made finding the music you were after a snap, and for free. iTunes only did so much to stem the tide, making music as easy to find as Napster, and at a nice low price, but it still cost money.

Spotify and its copycat services appear to have been the key, bringing Netflix style simplicity to music while still paying the artists a few pennies (and we mean a few — an independent artist needs over 15,000 plays just to break even on distribution and insertion costs, and that’s without a label taking a major piece). But the take home message here is that music piracy is at least on the decline. Via Ars Technica:

Industry analysts from the NPD Group also have good news for the RIAA, reporting in the Annual Music Study 2012 that “illegal music file sharing declined significantly in 2012” in the US. According to NPD, the number of consumers using P2P services to download music fell 17 percent in 2012. Similarly, it said that the volume of “illegally downloaded music files from P2P services also declined 26 percent.”

So in other words, the music industry has discovered what Hollywood did: that making insanely cheap streaming services keep people from seeking out illegal downloads.

The industry shouldn’t celebrate yet, though. Until content is dependably available (unlike Netflix for example, where a movie in your queue can poof at any time), subscription services cannot ever hope to replace an actual collection. They’ve accomplished what Sirius hasn’t, however, and that is to become a real replacement for radio.

Who knows, maybe in response to this, the broadcasting radio business will get desperate enough to bring back DJs and play rock and roll again… nahhhh.

Via: [Ars Technica]

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