Interesting point you bring up. I see two factors related to this decline:
1- I recently met a man in his late 60s who was very proud to tell me that
he has downloaded for free thousands of tunes that he keeps in different
ipods in his house. It was his son (aged 40) and his grandson (aged 18) who
showed him how to get the free downloads. They have no guilt whatsoever for
not paying for music that they listen to. After all, the elder grew up
listening to music on the radio and on TV, and it was all free then and it
should still be that way (his words - not mine). No argument from my part
could bring him to change his point of view.
2- I'm in my early 60s and I have roughly three thousand CDs and a thousand
vinyl LPs. Considering this "vast" amount of music at my disposal, I rarely
feel the urge to buy another CD. Sometimes I feel like I need a new CD like
a hole in the head. Some CDs get played once every five years. So over the
years, my buying has gone from two CDs a week, to one per two months. OK
I'm not considering my Mercury sets in this equation :-) So I'm certainly
part of the decline in sales.
When I was a teenager, there was only so much music available. After all,
recorded music was still in its infancy (even though it had been around for
fifty years). The 78 era was dead and the LP was taking off. Plus I
wouldn't have been caught dead listening to my parents' music. Whenever I
got a new album, I would sit for hours in front of the stereo enjoying it
and trying to capture all the small details that had gone into the
performance, production and recording. When SACDs came out, there was no
other way to listen to them except plop myself in the middle of my speaker
array. Most people don't have the luxury of time to listen properly to
music. Even those who wear headphones or earbuds are, for the most part,
not really listening to music but rather trying to disctract themeselves
from the mundane task of being on the bus or subway. The paradox is that
today, teens have access to decades of good recorded music that they enjoy
(a luxury that I did not have). And at the same time, every kid on the
block is putting out a CD. So there's tons of new music coming out every
year. But maybe music is not what drives people nowadays.
Serious listeners (who buy music) are a rare breed and I must face the fact
that I am a dinosaur. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
On Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 1:59 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> Reported in today's Wall Street Journal, with an equally depressing
> 1. 1996 global music sales as reported by International Federation of the
> Phonographic Industry: $40 billion.
> 2. 2004 global music sales as reported by IFPI: $21 billion.
> 3. 2015 global music sales as reported by IFPI: about $15 billion.
> 3a. World population in 1996 was about 5.8 billion. In 2014, it was 7.2
> billion (U.N. figures)
> 3b. 1996-2014, global gross domestic product from about 40 trillion US
> dollars to over 100 trillion US dollars (economywatch.com)
> 4. In 2015, for the first time, downloads and streaming sales total was
> higher than CDs and other physical media: $6.9b vs. $6.8b. (the remaining
> $1.3 billion in sales came from radio airplay and songs licensed for movies
> and video).
> 5. Net-net, phyiscal media is now about 45% of total music sales, and
> still losing ground. Streaming/subscription is the growth area. Downloads
> are also sliding. The world of artwork, physical product and ownership of
> one's purchased music is slipping away. Furthermore, recorded music appears
> to be of declining value to an increasing world population with increased
> spending power.