Article written by Rich Huxley and originally published on his blog. Rich is an independent musician, member of Hope and Social (nee Four Day Hombre), a blogger, a music industry consultant, a mentor and coach, a prolific proponent of social media, a recording engineer, an enthusiast for the “honesty box”/pay what you want model, a guitarist for hire, a mix engineer, a founder of Alamo Music – the UK’s first fan-owned record label, a producer and a generally over-excitable English chap.
Music Business Income Goes Up – Music Business Costs Go Down
So, in Independence for Bands: 101 Pt. 1, I discussed reasons why record deals from big music aren’t the way to go, and some of the negative connotations associated with the old record business behemoths. However, I truly believe that things have never been better for the independent musician.
In amongst the rafts of the famous and the rich saying that the music industry (it’s not the music industry, it’s the old record business) is in free-fall, there are an emerging bunch of figures, and artist testimonials which outline that the music business is in fact growing. There are many statistics stating that the illegal downloading of music adversely affects the amount of music sold, and probably an equal weight of opinion to the contrary; that it’s file-sharers who spend the most on music. While truly and effectively measuring the impact of downloading is very difficult, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the music industry is returning more and more growth figures.
The PRS reported that from 2007 to 2008, revenues went up 4.7%.
This graph from The Times labs shows that both The Performing Rights Society and The British Phonographic Industry found that while traditional record labels may not be earning as much as they once were, the new music models seem to favour artists.
The BPI have also confirmed that even before the Christmas rush, 2009 has been a record year for single sales.
Also, what’s often overlooked by the gloom mongers is that in addition to the new distribution opportunities available to us online media, the internet reduces (and can in fact almost entirely eliminate) the distribution costs needed to share music (as argued by the the fantastic Steve Lawson here in Balancing the Scales of “Free”.). These costs (sending CDs to press, TV, radio) were part of what saw artists on “old music” labels drawn into debt with their record labels. Simultaneously, advances in recording technology have led to a drop in the costs associated with making music. So while potential costs have dropped, potential opportunities have grown.
In my guest post on Creative Deconstruction I wrote about ways to make a success of independence. In the next post “Pt. 3″ (or Music 2.0) I’ll start to talk about some of the tools available to us on the internet to make our music available, and how we can share and interact with fans. It’s an exciting time to be independent.