[RANT] Do Record Labels Care About Music Consumption Habits?

Global Music Consumption

Looking at this survey from The Nielson Company of global music consumption habits I think not. Digital music sales are flat, music consumption habits are changing and so are the demographics and desires of music fans themselves. So why is there no innovation in music product to cater to these new habits and consumers?  Why aren’t the labels listening? Why aren’t they cooperating and creating appropriate licensing models that will spur new product innovation and….revenue?

Clearly the old model of buy and listen isn’t winning the popular vote anymore. When the labels had control over music supply it was a very viable and lucrative model. But guess what,  they don’t have control over the supply anymore, whether they like it or not. Consumers have a choice and try as they might to squelch piracy with their iron fists of legislation, at the end of the day they’re losing…and making everyone suffer along the way. It’s a slippery slope of defense with an inevitable ending. The reality is right there in this chart. This isn’t the music consumer of yore. It’s a YouTube generation filled with a new kind of music fan that wants to experience music and share it. So let’s put this lame horse known as the old music industry out of it’s misery, make some glue, and build new product strategies that support both the artists and consumers. Goddamnit.

2 thoughts on “[RANT] Do Record Labels Care About Music Consumption Habits?

  1. They won’t do it cos they can’t make money from it. Look at the graph, watching a vid and downloading free music (illegally or not), or streaming it from something like Spotify just does not bring in the bacon, either for bands directly or labels.

    And licensing has been watered down to such a degree that nobody can make a sustainable model work take Spotify – if its ad based it annoys customers, Spotify can’t be making much, the payment per stream is literally something like 0.000001p, so labels and bands dont make any money. It all falls down.

    You could cater for these trends but i’d argue that consumers have got all the choice they need, and the tools to share it already. Really, they’ve never had it better, two clicks and its shared.
    Bandcamp is the easiest store in the world to use, and bands get paid directly, but consumers don’t realise the power of the choices they have available now. They are probably attuned to being told what to buy/listen to, ingrained into them. If consumers were able to lose the mindset, open their minds, ears and make choices and support bands directly, without prejudice, then you wouldn’t need labels at all. Except for capital. And as long as their is capital and market saturation, you will have dead eyed masses lemming-like buying what they are told to like.

    The issue is the consumer. Flooded with too much choice, unable to see through the thicket, tastes dulled and lack of interest in ALL THE MUSIC they revert to status quo.

    It might sound a bit fatalistic – but money is driving force for all industry – maybe the industry will just die. The difficulty is trying to in some way monetize whatever model you choose. Or maybe payment for music is an old concept, maybe its just shifting and we’re all becoming minstrels. If thats the case then these new ventures will depend entriely on angel investors, get a couple of years then collapse due to not being able to make any money at any level.

    There should be more people like yourself, alas there is not. Great post.

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