Here are some sobering stats that I found on the Smart Money site and a great infographic that sums them up. The most frustrating thing for everyone in the music industry these days is the reality of digital music sales. As you can see in the graphic, digital sales have not replaced the revenue from the good old days of CD sales and the whole pie has pretty much shriveled up. Its kind of like hoping to eat a ripe juicy plum, closing your eyes and biting into a prune. Disappointing at best.
Until someone comes up with a new compelling digital music format, I am afraid that this trend is going to continue. I wonder how many more years organizations like NARM and the Recording Academy (of which I am a Governor) will continue to exist, or will need to exist. I really suggest that they start investing in research and development for new formats as soon as possible.
Last year, only 13 of the approximately 77,000 album releases sold over a million copies. That’s .00016 % folks. We are in an entirely new era for recorded music. Elvis has left the building. Those that are using recorded music to drive sales of other things like merch and tickets and books and DVDs and personal appearances and teaching gigs are making some money. But the odds of making a living from record sales are at an all time low and augering into the earth, unless something unexpected happens.
So where are the new audio formats? Does anyone care about quality anymore or are we forever satisfied with listening to music via $.50 transducers stuffed into our ears?
How do you feel about audio quality? Would an improved format make you pay something reasonable for recorded music once again, or has that train forever left the station? I believe that the new generation of listeners for the most part have not ever really even heard high quality audio. That is a shame. If you grew up with an iPod as your primary music device, you probably don’t even know what I am talking about.