According to this article, music sales are up for the first time in seven years.
“It’s always good to be up, but considering album sales have been in total freefall for years (at this time last year, sales were down 11 percent compared to the same time in 2009), there was really no place to go but up.”
So says the article.
I disagree. The music industry has, since the advent of the internet, displayed an uncanny knack at playing the fiddle while the sink ships. The record labels, the ones that are left, are impatient and bloodthirsty, fighting a futile war against technology when they should have exploited its potential.
There are other places to go besides up: very far down.
I never bought the concept that the internet deserved sole blame for the industry’s woes. It certainly didn’t help. You would expect that when you have a technology that allows people to instantly get a product for free that they would otherwise need to spend money on.
Kind of like, say, cassette decks that allowed consumers to make multiple copies of an album to distribute at will.
They could have figured out ways to use this technology to their benefit. What they actually did was file frivilous lawsuits while their product dwindled in quality. The internet was partially to blame, but so was the painful lack of quality major label product in the past ten years.
Lady Gaga, who is mentioned in the article, is the first flagship personality in a very long time. Her artistic merit is debatable: her prominence is not. She’s discussed, dissected, idolized, loathed and loved. The last mainstream artist to evoke such an array of emotions was Eminem. As you can see in the article above, Mr. Mathers was the first artist to go platinum with digital downloads.
It’s not a coincidence.
Bland, trite, formulaic songs and artists don’t.