21 Century Music Industry: Music for free?
By: Duncan Gilfillan
Music been around since the 1500’s but the music industry itself did not really form until the early 1950’s with artists like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Miles Davis who made the music industry much more than just the artists and their music. Recording studios, band mangers, tour companies, record companies, and music distributors all started to take major roles in the newly forming industry and began to create large profits off the success of the artists they helped or signed. While the industry did expand horizontally, adding more companies to the business, technology was the driving force that allowed the industry to grow bigger, making it easier for consumers to consume their music, and making it easier for the music to reach a larger international market. From the first LP vinyl and record player, to the hand held cassette player and all the way to modern Ipod’s and internet streaming, technology made it both easier and popular, to store music in a small, portable, device. Nowadays the problem is not so much how to reach the consumer, but rather how to keep the consumers who are willing to pay for the service that artist and the music industry provide. The industry has taken a huge directional change the minute that the internet got involved in the selling, distributing and listening of the music that artists were trying to sell. The internet not only let music go viral; being able to reach anyone in the world who had a computer, but the changing in music format (from CD 8 disk file to mp3) and the ability to stream audio files online for free, allowed for music to be heard, replicated, and download all for free. People also realized that they could share music files through different types of software like Napster, which since its creation in 1999 has contributed to the 47 percent sales drop in music sales across the U.S1. Not only are CD’s not being bought (putting the record companies at stake) but the artists themselves are getting their songs downloaded for free or for a small fraction of a penny, and as a result the whole music industry has taken a massive negative hit. The music industry today’s is at a standstill. Entrepreneurs and business men like Steve Jobs (creator of Itunes and the Ipod) are coming up with new cheaper ways (for the consumers) to obtain and ‘purchase’ music, mean while the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) and the government are trying to sue the illegal sites and programs like Limewire and Youtube Converters were music can be downloaded for free. While all this is happening, the true artists and contributors to the music industry like songwriters and mangers are not only trying to figure out how to still generate revenue, but are also trying to keep the consumers happy and wanting to buy the music so the industry can profit. Some feel as though the industry simply cannot survive and that the consumers have now reached a point where the control is all in their hands, and low profit legal sites and free downloaded is simply to un-regulated and so out of control that the industry can only fall as a result. Others believe that the 21 century music industry that is forming is a good thing and that it is now forcing artists to creatively come up with ways to attract their fans with more than just their music on a plastic disk. Opinion clash and ethnics are now a part of an industry that is in need of change or adaptation very soon. The industry is at a point where it needs to change directions, and everyone has an idea of where it should go and how it should get there. Many feel as though the industry is being robbed of what it previously had gross profits towards and that the shift towards digitalizing the industry has created a feeling where artists and the people involved in the industry are not getting the revenue they are entitled to. These people believe that online...
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