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Is this the end of owning music? Stats update.

Discussion in 'music' started by Graham H, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

  2. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I didn’t think I ever would, but I bought a Sonos Connect box and stream music via Spotify.
    I pay for the highest quality service from them and it’s superb.
    OK, I still play records and CDs, but streaming does appear to be ‘The Future.’
  3. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    The market has changed & the genie is unlikely to go back into the bottle.
    With the exception of vinyl, sales of hard copies of music, movies & the machines to play them on have nosedived.
    For those that want to persist with cd’s the prices of albums will go down I guess. But it’ll be largely a case of buying them online as high street stores disappear a la HMV.
    As for us lot, the hifi enthusiasts/geeks, we are by & large dinosaurs, like it or not. Go to any hifi show & look at the average age of the audience.
    Streaming is the future, at least for the time being, whether we like it or not.
  4. zippy

    zippy pfm Member

    I believe that not only do people buy fewer CD's and more streamed music, but also more likely to buy tracks that they like rather than a whole album which probably only has a few 'good' tracks and a lot of 'not-so-good'.
    That behaviour doesn't really show up in the statistics, which still seem to talk of 'album' sales.
  5. berty bass

    berty bass pfm Member

    I did hear a report on the reemergence of cassettes the other night on Radio 5. Obviously they are unlikely to 'trouble the scorers' as formats go but the interesting point was the interviewees perception of them simply representing the latest symptom of a return to the ownership of physical media, and a reaction to the prevalence of streaming. Probably a flash in the pan but an interesting perspective all the same.
  6. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Cassettes have a few things going for them. They're really cheap to produce. They can be produced in very low numbers. They can be duplicated very quickly. And as you say, they're a great way of selling downloads to people who want something physical to collect or display on the shelf.

    If you're a small band and want to have something to put on the merch table at your gigs it's hard to sell a download. But a £5 cassette with free download works nicely.

    Surprising statistic: there were 17,872 cassette releases on Bandcamp in 2017.
  7. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    No surprises from those stats, but my primary concern is that the Tidal/Spotify/streaming model doesn't fit well with smaller indie or musician run labels (across all genres) who don’t receive enough income from streaming services to reinvest in new projects. With no investment things will stagnate quickly. My interest is in the continuing diversity and quality of music rather than in its absolute consumption or distribution methods. I hear what Paul is saying regarding the cassette market, and although that in itself is encouraging I don’t think it’s a viable way forward for most artists.

    Hopefully more alternative artist friendly streaming and DL platforms will emerge, such as Bandcamp. Or there will be enough interest and demand from labels, artists and consumers for CD and vinyl to ensure their long term survival. (Vinyl is already showing signs of levelling out, and from the chart in the article looks like the 70s big hitter reissue market is keeping it afloat, not the likes of Music Matters or Analogue Productions which tend to ride on the back of the bigger sellers). I am not convinced that the streaming models we currently have on offer are sustainable or desirable in the long term.
  8. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy pfm Member

    I have bought quite a few tapes from independent Electronic music artists on Bandcamp. It’s fun to play them sometimes and nice to own them. They aren’t the future though, it’s more of a hipster fad if anything.

    I think for smaller artists, live music is their best way to attract new fans, then put their live shows on YouTube or other social media. If they get popular enough they’ll get picked up by a major label and get on some big playlists on the streaming services, which is where the money is now.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I suspect the stats are misleading as they only seem to relate to mainstream pop music, which has always been children’s music in most respects, and they are certainly listening via YouTube etc. I’m prepared to bet the figures are very different for other musical forms, e.g. classical, jazz, folk, the better alternative/electronica etc. I hate to think what I spent with Amazon on CDs last year, but has to be £6-700+, and that was just some of my incoming stuff as I buy a lot second-hand too. We are only at the 4 day of the year and I’ve already spent £80!

    PS I guarantee CDs aren’t going anywhere, there will always be a market. There is a market for 1980s ZX Spectrum games cassettes, people are even writing new ones, so the future of CDs is pretty safe I reckon. It will become niche, but niche markets are often the best kind!
  10. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    Would you like to support that assertion with some figures?
    "Spotify pays about $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream to the holder of music rights. And the "holder" can be split among the record label, producers,artists, and songwriters"
  11. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    Kids have always preferred single tracks to albums, hence the popularity of 'Now' type compilations and chart music, so streaming suits them down to the ground as they aren't interested in albums anyway. Presumably over time as all the generation of music buyers die off then buying actual music will be really niche.
  12. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy pfm Member

    My point was that if your song gets on a popular playlist you get a lot more money than everyone else. That’s where the money is, it’s not anywhere else - apart from big live tours these days.
  13. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    I certainly hope you are right about CD - I wish I had your confidence in the matter. Niche markets usually rely on mainstream markets if only for means of production. Take away the big sellers and the unit production costs for a run of say a 1000 - 2000 CDs will rocket, making it unaffordable for smaller labels. Niche labels alone are also unlikely to be able to support and sustain the viability of operating pressing plants. Remember the demise of vinyl in the 90s?
  14. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy pfm Member

    I was speaking to a 17yo girl at work the other day about our music taste. She’d heard of Miles Davis, even mentioned a few track titles she liked. The next day she said she had a turntable and played music on that at home. I was quite surprised by that! But on the whole, the other young people at work seem to prefer streaming Drake on Spotify.
  15. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    We have a different concept of money. Work out how many plays it would take for an artist to get 1k in their hand, assuming they get 8% from their record company. Can be dollars if you like to make the maths easier.
  16. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy pfm Member

    Don’t think we do actually. I’m merely pointing out that getting on a big playlist is one of the few places for them these days. That can be the springboard for further recognition too.

    Young fans aren’t buying CDs or vinyl in large quantities and never will again. So it’s streaming royalties and live ticket sales, or get a different job really.
  17. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    Streaming royalties are mostly insignificant.
    Good article here

    "Good news: The music industry has now accepted streaming as its revenue-leader and is poised to adapt around that, with many analysts and experts expecting that the business will streamline itself — with rewrites of law, new royalties negotiations, mergers, acquisitions and consolidations — into something leaner and, finally, more lucrative for musicians. Bad news: No one knows when that will be".

    As the article says, CD and merchandise sales at gigs, and live gigs is where the money is. Streaming needs to change. Or there is little incentive to record music, except as a musical business card.
    Nagraboy likes this.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    To be honest my fear with CD isn’t thatat all. I’m sure anyone who wanted to make a CD could do so pretty cheaply, I’ve even got a few freak-folk/psych type things (e.g. Sam And The Plants) that are entirely self-produced, self-copied, self-packaged and marketed. Lovely things they are too. My fear is that at some stage in the future some corporate giant such as Samsung, Sony or whoever will decide they no longer want to make transports, and that technology is beyond the artisan craft market. Keeping valve amps, turntables etc viable is comparatively easy, but even boutique companies that charge tens of £thousands for a CD player are buying-in transports and lasers. I suspect stashing a container full of good quality transport assemblies might be a shrewd long-term investment! By saying that China being China anything will be produced as long as there is the slightest market even if the quality is just horrible.

    CD has a unique position along with vinyl in that it was always a ‘quality’ medium, it was never a compromise the way say VHS, MiniDisc, DCC etc were. There are billions of CDs scattered across the planet containing much of the finest art mankind has produced. They are not obsolete, they still do exactly what they were designed to do and a heck of a lot of people love them for that. There is already a boyant collector market even in these days of shovel-ware, just do a search for 35dp, 32dp, WG or Japanese targets, VDP, VDJ etc etc. There are a lot of people collecting at this point and that will only increase once the flood of cheap supplies inevitably start to diminish.
  19. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy pfm Member


    I currently pay £19.99 per month for TIDAL Hi-Fi streaming. I wonder how much we’ll have to pay before the averagely popular artist can make a living from streaming? One concern I have is that people are used to getting Spotify etc for free. How will this mentality change?
  20. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    Well, if artists are given a fair crack, I'd imagine you'd be talking a factor of at least ten, looking at what the pay per track is now. And if it went up that much, I'd imagine there would be much more pirating, so it's difficult to foresee exactly what might happen.

    But if you want music recorded with creativity, dedication and care, as in the "old days", I think a physical artefact in your hand and not streaming must be the answer.

    This may take a perceptive shift in the attitude of the consumer from "I've got access to 10 million tracks" to "my hundred CDs, (or indeed, slabs of vinyl), which I treasure because they're all blinders...)

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