Jeremy Belcher over at Music Think Tank posted a very nice blog today: The Difference Between the Music Industry & the Recording Industry. As Jeremy puts it, the distinction between the two “is being overlooked, and the consequences of doing so are preventing many from seeing the opportunities that abound.” Recording is just one piece of “a huge, overarching behemoth” that includes many other activities and business opportunities, from licensing to touring to merchandise.
Music entered human culture between 30,000 and 60,000 years ago. In the 1300’s, European minstrels were forming guilds. Half a millennium later, musical geniuses like Beethoven and Mozart relied on patronage and commissions to keep bread on the table. Recorded music as an industry, as a sole or significant means of support for talented artists, goes back only a few decades. It exploded into existence through technology, and no one should be surprised to see the industry existentially challenged, radically transformed, and perhaps even rendered obsolete by yet another explosive technological advance.
And yet, Jeremy reminds us, while the recording industry may be in trouble, the music industry as a whole is doing fine. Case in point: The recently concluded 2-year tour by U2 generated nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in ticket sales alone. Beyond such eye-popping examples, we have The Sky Is Rising, a new well-researched comprehensive study from Michael Masnick and Michael Ho. In this report we learn that “the broader music industry”, as measured by IFPI, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, has grown from $132 billion in 2005 to $168 billion in 2010.
We are living in an age of disruptive technology, and the ground beneath our feet is shaking. But look up: The sky is not falling.