From Newsweek to Wired to Rollingstone, everyone is writing about the shift in the music business. The majors are dying. EMI is laying off 2000 employees. Universal’s sales plummeted last year. Why are they dying? A lot of reasons: declining CD sales, mismanagement, over-indulgence, a shifting economy, or a massive superiority complex. Take your pick.
Meanwhile, those musicians who are business savy and hip to the shifting industry are flourishing. One main reason: DIGITAL MUSIC. Whether its through Myspace, Yahoo, Itunes, personal websites, ring tones, cool little thumb drives shaped like robots, music is arriving to the public via computers. The CD is dying a slow, painful death. It is not quite a dinasour yet, more like a Bolivian Chinchilla (an endangered species, seriously, look it up).
If anything is responsible for wiping the CD out of exisitence it is obviously the MP3. In 2007 digital sales jumped 54% which equates to a cool $278.2 million. So what does this mean to you? Well if you are Mary J. Blige or the Eagles, it means that you made a boat load of money for the first time based on your digital sales as compared to your physical or CD sales (assuming they have the right type of recording deal in place). If you are an indie or a newbie, it means that more people have access to your music than ever before and you could actually make a living if you market yourself correctly and enter into smart agreements with the right type of digitial distribution company.
Think about it; old recording contracts apply the cost of manufacturing the physical CD against the royalties that are owed to the artist. Couple that with the cost of distribution which may include warehouse costs, shipping, dock fees, etc. and your precious royalty has already shrunk to pennies rather than dollars.
Digitial distribution does not have any of these costs. You will share your profit with the website that sells your music and you may pay a graphic artist to come up with a digital booklet to accompany your digital release. Other than that, what costs do you have?
Like BETA to VHS to DVD, the Vinyl to Tape to CD now goes to MP3. So come on, join the revolution.