Real Talk: It’s time to reevaluate the way we engage music consumers


French anti-P2P law cuts back pirating, but music sales still decline.  France has one of the strictest anti-piracy laws in the world, with a 3 strike and you are out model, it is a heavy deterrent to stay away from P2P sites and Torrent sites.  Despite the success and cracking down on illegal downloading music sales continue to decline.  Is this simply a “give it time” factor or is there something deeper and more basic reason why music sales continue to decline?

I believe that this is proof that piracy is not the only reason for music sales declining. I believe music consumers now feel that there is less value in music today. As a music business community I believe we now have to find ways to once again add value to music and engage fans on a more personal level. Piracy absolutely added to the music sales decline BUT I believe the quality of the music and way music consumers are engaged needs to be reevaluated.

Some music consumers I have spoken with feel that the music industry indeed is saturated with bands and new artists, yet do not feel they have an opportunity to get to know the artist or band.  Some music consumers feel that the quality of the music being presented and released is too “cookie cutter”, no innovative sounds or artists are being given an opportunity or marketed (yet alone developed) as the emphasis has been placed on “product development”.

I feel the music realm is saturated but it is mainly due to the increase of independent musicians, bands and artists – good and bad, and the easy of reaching the music consumer through technology.  I agree with music consumers that we the consumer do not know who the artists are, not enough time has been invested in making the artist a household name and something the consumer can relate to, which is bad because besides wanting to be entertained by the music the music consumer wants to be engaged and given a more personal connection as well.

In an era in which is easy to reach music consumer through a variety of mediums the record companies need to remember that artist development isn’t only about perfecting a diamond in the rough but ensuring that the diamond absolutely shines in every way in order to get deep rooted fans to follow and support the artist, a/k/a the product and brand.

According to a recent Neilsen Sound Scan report, sales are up in 2011, but in digital format as physical forms of music continue to slide in decline.  In the mix of trying to keep up with technology and social media trends and music deliveries the concept of providing value to physical sales has been sidelined, and this is a terrible idea.  Sure record companies and artists are no longer seeing physical sales as their bread and butter, with 100,000 -to- 200,000 physical record sales being considered good according to today’s standards versus 500,000+ physical sales in yesterday’s music industry.  Has the music industry just given up on trying to bring prominence to physical sales in lieu of taking the easy way out of low to no cost manufacturing of digital music in hopes that it will eventually replace physical products and generate enough revenue to compensate the loss of CD sales?

What do you think? I’m interested in hearing your perspective as a music consumer, as a music industry person and just as a spectator in general. DO you purchase physical product – i.e. CD’s, t-shirts, posters and other merchandise or do you solely purchase (I hope you do) digital music? Do you feel you are missing out on anything by purchasing music in digital format – i.e. liner notes, physical tangible CD and etc?

French anti-P2P law cuts back pirating, but music sales still decline.

U.S. Music Sales Down Just 1.3% In First Quarter, According to SoundScan

Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

SoundScan Releases Complete Report On 2011 Music Sales

Music’s lost decade: Sales cut in half


About Real*Industry*Talk

Professional Page: Experience: ASCAP Real Industry Talk Independent Music Company Get It Done Blog Artist Manager Education: Full Sail University, B.S., Music Business View all posts by Real*Industry*Talk

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