Funny how a much loved tune of old returns to the rota of earworms. Was twiddling the digital dial and bang there she blew again (that’s a mixed metaphor that doesn’t warrant too much examination). Of course I went searching for more info just because I am my own sad semantic search engine. An interesting story and shows how many bands from that era don’t get to own their own songs or have much of a say regarding their continuing availability. Such is the conflict of art and business.
Oh and by the way, wasn’t this used as the theme to 80’s music proglette ‘8 day a week’ hosted by Robin Denslow back in what now passes as the day?
Research claims that the music industry needs to rapidly change its business model to survive. It claims that the percentage of music buyers purchasing from legal sources has fallen though music fans do pay on average for 3.22 legal downloads each months whilst 51% of the average digital music collection is derived from CD’s (presumably purchased or ‘borrowed’).
In the UK the competition to the market leader in legal download, iTunes is slight with Tesco re-launching its digital downloads service still featuring the highly unpopular digital rights management (at the insistence of the music labels) and like many sites still tied to the Windows platform whilst Amazon is yet to launch a DRM free mp3 service in the UK and Europe ,rumoured to launch in the Autumn of 2008, leaving legal subscription service emusic and the advert supported we7 (currently propped up by a cash injection from Peter Gabriel).
Meanwhile Last.fm, now a part of CBS allows users to listen to much of their streaming music on limited demand whilst pointing to the legal sources to purchase a track that may take the listeners fancy.
The research by The Leading Question and Music Ally urges the music industry to experiment with bundling music with other value added products, trying new release schedules and formats and above all to realise that free music can still generate revenues from other complimentary sources.
“What is called the music business today, however, is not the business of producing music. At some point it became the business of selling CDs in plastic cases, and that business will soon be over. But that’s not bad news for music, and it’s certainly not bad news for musicians. Indeed, with all the ways to reach an audience, there have never been more opportunities for artists.”
The music industry is to try yet another physical music format with the unholy marriage of the CD and analogue vinyl. The vinyl disc with have a standard CD on one side and a vinyl record on the other. The obvious shortcoming being that whilst the CD side can hold up to 70 minutes of audio the restricted size of the disc will mean that barely 3 minutes can be squeezed onto the vinyl side so it’s going to be more suited to tracks that fit that length. The first artist to release on the VinylDisc format will be Fightstar ,the group that features the posh and heavily eyebrowed former member of busted. A limited 3,000 disc run will be available with each VinylDisc costing £2.99.
My only concern is that whereas the common shorthand for Compact disc is CD, does this will mean that the shorthand for VinylDisc will be..er..VD. Hmmm
As the music industry adjusts to the demise of the physical product with the CD single very much in decline as downloads have taken off they have got together for one last try at a physical product option and their collective brain pooling now brings us the ringle.
It’s a CD in a slip case which will contain up to 3 music tracks (a potential ‘hit’, a remix, and an old track?) and a mobile phone ring tone. The industry is now haggling on the potential price which will dictate the profit margin they see on the ‘new’ format. CD albums have a 35% profit margin and the ringle may have a 31% profit margin at worst.
The heyday for the industry was the pre digital era where the profit margin on vinyl albums, singles and cassettes was anything up to 42.7%.
As popular music and the music industry flail about trying to find a new business model for the future in the era of digital downloads and the increasing tendency to devalue or give some music away as Prince did in The Mail on Sunday recently it was probably inevitable that as the still waters of the established way of doing things was stirred that all kind of ideas would be tried.
The Vancouver sourced band ThurstonRevival will be releasing only 100 copies of their debut track ‘Somewhere there’s an angel’ in a specially wrapped and signed package. They won’t exactly be giving it away as each one of the 100 packaged items will cost £100. Their record label has said. “When albums are being given away and with an endless downward pressure on album prices, this release is a chance to step back, catch a breath, and fight back.
“We’re not pretending £100 isn’t a lot of money and we only expect the idea to appeal to a special few.”
I’ve found it interesting to see the changes that are happening to the popular music industry these days as downloads, the Internet and the the competition of computer games and fashion compete for a slice of the youth market dollar.
No more albums?
Rock groups deciding to discontinue making albums and just offering singles and EP’s (something that the American Walmart stores have been calling for as they believe the lower priced EP format is a more viable commercial option for both retailers and artists) and the collapse of some music high street chains who struggled to make ends meet in this new digital download driven world.
Giving the stuff away
On top of this comes the news that the pint sized Prince is to release his latest album as a give away in a British Sunday newspaper which has the industry foaming at the mouth (I presume the paper is paying Prince for this so it’s hardly an altruistic act by the purple one and it may be that prince sees this as a way of getting his current music actually heard).
Ringtones vs pop tones
Pop music is not the great money spinner it once was and the days when it took near a million sales to get to the top of the music charts are now well and truly in the past. Radio too is no longer primarily the place to hear new music. It could be that the music industry wound down a long time ago and only the boost of people re buying their old vinyl collections on CD managed to keep the industry afloat. With no new physical music format in the offering it’s going to take some innovative thinking to monetise downloads to provide the kind of income the industry has too long been used to. At the moment they are making more money from ring tones than the music itself.