Commentary

The Internet: Killing or Saving the Music Industry?

As the beginning of the semester starts to get chaotic, I find myself sitting here wondering what is next on my to-do list and how I am going to finish it. In the background one of my new favorite bands, Holy Hail, is playing and I realize something about the way I listen to music. I always listen to music while I am working on my computer, but I don’t often listen to a compact disc I own, the radio is rarely on, and my iTunes account is not open. When I’m online, I listen to music on Myspace.

I am currently on my Myspace listening to one of my favorite bands that is on my friends list. I do not own their CD, nor do I have plans to purchase it. It is just nice to log on and visit their account to listen to music. I do occasionally buy some artists music online or at Target or Circuit City, but for the most part, I tend listen to the list of songs on their Myspace page. I also like to find new artists through popular blogs and websites such as Perez Hilton, Pink is the New Blog, Pure Volume, and Pitchfork. From there, I search for their official website or Myspace to listen for more. After that, I decided if there music is worth purchasing or if I would just listen to them occasionally. I would say I purchase only 25% of the time.

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I know that the music industry has lost considerable amounts of money in the past due to online file sharing and downloading music illegally. What about myspace and pure volume that let you listen to almost whole CD’s for free at any time? For me that is just as good as having the CD. Yes, there are some people who buy the music from these artists, while others just log on and listen for a good break.

The Internet can be used as a great promotional tool for musicians, but it can also hinder album sales. Do artists who want to get heard put there music online or try to pitch it to radio stations? Does anyone listen to the radio anymore? What are the other ways for artists to get their music out there? I believe that artists should carefully consider how much of their music they put online; perhaps they should give the audience a little taste that leaves them wanting more.

4 comments about "The Internet: Killing or Saving the Music Industry?".
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  1. Roger Goff, February 4, 2008 at 12:27 p.m.

    Dave, if you really buy 25% of the time, that's fantastic! I would bet the real number is a lot less, and I still think it's great. You're finding music that never would have seen the light of day, and you're actually spending money on some of it. That is 100% positive for the music industry, and I think most labels are finally figuring that out. The irony is that artists really don't need labels in order to participate in the process you describe. And even if you don't buy any music from an artist, you still might go catch their show or, at the very least, mention them to a friend who might buy some music or go to their show. Those are all positive results for that band.

  2. David Mullings from Realvibez Media LLC, February 4, 2008 at 4:59 p.m.

    Good post but I think you should distinguish between what labels want vs. what artists want.

    Artists have traditionally made most of their money from performances while labels make their money from sales of songs and albums. Your listening habits are GREAT for artists - they get exposure and might come to a concert with a friend who is a fan.

    The internet has proven to be great for independent artists with no major label to spend lots of money on marketing while labels have been hurt by the free music so the "music industry" is affected both positively and negatively, unless you consider the labels to be the industry.

  3. Andrew Kaplan from TurnHere, Inc., February 4, 2008 at 5:49 p.m.

    If you're listening to music for free but wouldn't have purchased the CD anyway, then you didn't really cost the record labels any money, did you? You weren't even a potential consumer to begin with.

  4. mark mccormack, February 12, 2008 at 9 a.m.

    There is no question that the music industry is changing and needs to change more. How people get exposed to artists and how they listen and share music is completely different than it was a few years ago. Interest in music will not go away and the need for artists / labels to make money will not go away. The internet, file sharing and dare i say iTunes is helping to reshape a legacy business and business model.

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