Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More Radical than Moi??

Driving into work today I heard an interview on Fresh Air with Steve Knopper, a reporter with Rolling Stone and author of the recent book Appetite for Self Destruction - The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. I only forecast that the Labels will drop classical. He predicts their imminent demise!! I can't wait to see his hate mail :-). The interview is well worth the time to listen. The classical artist and fan will find many useful observations. How does an artist make money? Perform! What is the role of recording? To promote performances! How did Bruce Springsteen promote his upcoming tour? He released free music for download on the Internet! How has the model changed? Touring was used to promote the sale of recordings. Now recordings are used to promote the tours.

The New York Times reviewed the book here:

I have the book on order (I haven't read it yet) but the review warns that an interesting subject is not done any service by the clich├ęs dominating the prose. Perhaps you can get all you need from the interview. If the book is really valuable I will report on it later. The audio for the Fresh Air show is not up yet but you can check out the Fresh Air site here:

I will post a link here to the audio after it goes on-line.

Update on Recording Industry Economics

I recently acquired an up-to-date graph of the sales of recording media through 2008. I have revised the graph in the earlier blog on the supply chain to include this information. It shows CD sales have dropped to less than half their numbers at the peak of the market in 2000. Some people point to the rapid rise of download sales to make the case that the recording industry is still OK (despite the daily barrage of news to the contrary). I have made some pretty conservative assumptions about the average sales prices of CDs, cassettes, LPs and single and album downloads and plotted the total industry revenue in the graph below:

As you can see the download revenue has come no where near to replacing the lost revenue from physical sales. Total revenue has dropped by more than $6B or nearly 50%. Downloads do not represent the economic salvation of the industry!

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