How many times do you hear the record label/RIAA people talk about the “music industry” suffering or hurting or getting back on its feet after piracy decimated it?
How many times do you hear the Publishing Rights Organisations talk about the “music industry” suffering or hurting or getting back on its feet after piracy decimated it?
What these “industry people” fail to understand is there is no industry, no economy, no market if there isn’t people who consume music. And people will act with money if they care. People obtaining content without purchasing is nothing new. It’s been happening since the 70’s. People going to the rock and roll show and not owning a legitimate copy of an album is as old as the 50’s.
Think about it. For a person in the 50’s to listen to music, they needed to have electricity coming into the house, a system to play the purchased vinyl and then they had to purchase the vinyl product. So a lot of people couldn’t afford to purchase a vinyl product and a system to play the vinyl and an electricity bill to listen to music at home. But people wanted the experience of the rock and roll show and they went out in droves.
Is it okay for a person to obtain content for free?
There is no right answer. But there are plenty of wrong ones and when it comes to free music, the answers the industry puts forward are around the short-term. How can the current industry executives benefit and get paid handsomely. The answers and solutions are selfish, lazy and have significant holes in them.
I still reckon streaming is priced too high. If it is priced lower, more people will convert to paying. It’s better to have 100 million people paying $5 a month than 50 million people paying $10 a month.
What the “industry” failed to take into account is the shift in people’s attitudes.
Think of the music market in the following three ways;
- The base is made up of people entering the music market. This is 20% of the music market.
- The middle is the people who have been consuming music for a while. This is 70% of the music market. They either pay for recorded music or they don’t. They either go to the show or they don’t. They either buy merchandise or they don’t.
- The top is the super fans who would give extra dollars to get something special. This is 10% of the music market.
Here’s what happens to the three layers when the price goes up happens to the industry.
Since the entry to access music is high, the base of the market will shrink. They base could turn to illegal means of access.
- Without a base replenishing the middle, the middle decides it’s better to obtain music for free and go to the show instead. Businesses that relied on the middle purchasing recorded product struggle to attract business and they disappear. The “industry” does nothing to bring in new ways to access music to the market place. Instead the “industry” goes screaming to the politicians to act on their behalf.
- The top then becomes super expensive. Bands super deluxe packages can go for $4000 dollars plus. New ways to access music is introduced by companies not associated with the “industry”. But to participate, a person needs to be part of a walled garden. This could be Apple, Spotify or Tidal. They need to hand over credit card details and other personal information.
And the techies are now trying to convert the middle into the top, so there is only a base and a top. No more middle. Sort of like life. The disappearance of the middle class.