First up, let me highlight this story about music industry revenues:
The record industry was thrown a reality check at the NARM conference this week. 2 percent of releases made up 91 percent of sales from the 98000 releases of 2009.
What is even more of a concern, only 2.1% of releases managed to sell more than 5000 units.
…It also points out that the industry may also be spending too much time focused on the wrong demographic. Purchasing power for music is in the wallets of the older generation. Susan Boyle sold more records last year in the USA than Lady Gaga.
If those figures are right, it’s a pretty interesting reflection on the state of the industry. In particular, the fact that only 2.1% of releases cracks the 5000 unit mark. That’s pretty depressing. And as the article points out:
The study found that “fresh artists are staring at a near-zero chance of selling even modest amounts”.
This is no doubt not news to anyone in an independent band, but it probably still hurts to see it put so starkly.
It also highlights, I think, what a fool’s dream it is that the new technology for self-promotion (blogs, MySpace, decent home-recording etc etc) is somehow going to free artists from the tyranny of major-label support (and therefore control). Sure, this is going to work for some, but that “some” is a tiny fraction of the whole.
But, hey: you’re not in it for the money anyway, are you?
(PS: In answer to some emails, yes, I have a bunch of album reviews pending. Stay tuned…)