While more music is being produced these days than ever before, this high production does not necessarily equate to the highest revenue of all time. In fact, it actually has equated to rather the opposite end of the spectrum.
2014 saw the smallest weekly sum for album sales since data tracking first began in the early nineties. This downward spiral included an 11-month wait for any artist to sell a million copies of a studio album, until Taylor Swift finally broke this dry spell when her album ‘1989’ dropped at the end of last year.
The landscape of the music industry has shifted considerably due to one main factor. The wonder, or nightmare rather, that is online music streaming. The music business body, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has recently reported that Britons streamed 14.8bn tracks in 2014, twice the figure of 7.5bn in 2013, as internet connectivity becomes more reliable and more engrained into our everyday lives.
To put a positive spin on it though, things could definitely be worse. With some historical context shed on the situation, we can see that the music industry has definitely seen worse days. In the 1920’s and the 1930’s, the arrival of free music ultimately led to the industry downsizing to a mere 5% of its previous stature and size. This reduction lasted for two whole decades until the 1940’s when the jukebox made a firm and game-altering appearance, in which people were invited to pay to hear music again.
It is needless to say music has come a long way since the invention of the jukebox…or has it? People are still creating playlists, and lining up their tracks, only difference is that now it is all occurs online. This time though, instead of aiding the music industry, it is actually crippling it, almost to the point of an actual break. Online streaming figures have zoomed from zero in 2007 to £76.7m in 2013.
Additionally, thanks to the explosion of YouTube, music labels are raking up millions of extra dollars a month thanks to YouTube advertising. So this additional money being pumped back into the music industry can make up for lack of music sales for the time being. This is why mainstream artists will release, 4, 5 or even 6 singles form each of their albums, each with their own music video. This is good news for video production companies, and for the artists who feel that Spotify and other online streaming platforms are ‘ruining their lives’.
As it turns out, the music industry has been thrown more than one lifeline. As a result of the cost of fuel decreasing, it now costs less to tour, which of course means more profit on ticket sales. The 12 January has marked a five-year low, which is great news for us all, including the touring industry, artists can add more dates to their tour, at a lower cost.
by Chloe Hashemi