The music industry is the business of producing, recording and selling music through a number of different methods. These methods typical refer to recording and selling music through physical or digital means, including live performance. The product offered by the music industry are varied over years, from the very first beginning of tape cassettes, and then to CDs, till now, digital music records have become more popular comparing to others. Although the mainstream of production in music industry changes a lot, live performance of music is still an important part of industry as it allows performers to establish new fans and give old fans a chance to hear the music in a live venue. Beside this, music radio still typically plays a major part because they have traditionally been as a platform for new songs and performer showing and promoting. However, the influence of digital contribution in the music radio industry is also obviously. In this article, I will analysis the impact of digital evolution on music recording and selling industry, and music artists’ career. I will focus more on the influence of digital towards the record labels. In the end, I will give some recommendations on how the future of music industry should be like to be better off.
Digital convergence and record labels
“The traditional business model in the music industry includes the mass production and distribution of physical goods” (Hughes & Lang, 2003). In this model, for the better part of a hundred years the recorded music business had an impressive track record of staying on top of the freshest technology, “up until 1980, recorded music was an ecosystem totally run by the major record labels” (Bobby, 2014). Record labels are selecting artists and signing with them, manufacturing the products, such as CDs, and distribute through music stores and artist will sell it at concerts as well (Valerie & Deborah, 2004). The main revenue comes from the sales of the products, including CDs, cassettes and concert tickets and so on. They are promoting the product via print media and radio mostly. The music industry was enjoying low manufacturing and high price of products. The high cost in music made music such luxurious and the spread of music is not very wide compare to nowadays. The record label was in the centre of the industry and each activity in this industry must get its approval before progressing. The money in the music industry flowed mainly to the record labels. They are the master of their own domain.
However in the last few years, the recording industry has gone through great changes because of the introduction of digital technology. “In 1999, Napster, a piece of software created by Shawn Fanning, brought about a major change in the industry” (Pablo, 2013). “Napster as the pioneer of semi-centralised services, operated in a client server peer-to-peer model, where a central server system facilitates communication among peer clients” (Kate, 2005). The appearance of Napster provides a tool to share the music files through the internet directly among fans and without any kind of payment by fans, it provides a tool to help them and other enthusiasts find and discuss music on the internet (David & Starling, 2005). It can be say that Napster was changing the music industry by permitting almost anyone to reproduce and distribute digital content at close to zero marginal cost over highly decentralized peer-to-peer computing architectures (David & Starling, 2005). This, in my own opinion, is because of the demand for the cheap or free music by the consumers. Napster had more than 60 million users worldwide before it was shut down by the U.S. court system (Valerie & Deborah, 2004). The market research submitted by the RIAA’s expert showed that 41% of the people said that Napster decrease or displaced music purchase (David & Starling, 2005). Napster was sued by RIAA for illegal, unauthorized peer-to-peer music file trading via the...
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