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TheLastMan's avatar

Why is the music business failing?

Asked by TheLastMan (28points) October 16th, 2009

Why are many music-related businesses (including most music artists) having a difficult time making money? Especially as music is becoming more and more popular.

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42 Answers

rangerr's avatar

Music sharing.

Cartman's avatar

It’s out of tune with reality

patg7590's avatar

two words
Kanye West

OpryLeigh's avatar

Has anyone here seen the musical We Will Rock You? That explains EVERYTHING that is wrong with the music industry.

Hey, if it’s in a musical it must be the gospel!!!

jrpowell's avatar

It is booming for millions of small artists. The shit they play on the radio is what is being hurt. This is a good thing.

erichw1504's avatar

Well from years and years of research I would have to say: downloading music files

CMaz's avatar

To correct this problem. This is what should be done.

Sony pays the rolling stones 200+ million dollars for access to their entire catalog. Then they allow everyone to help themselves to the music for personal use.
Sony uses the Rolling Stones music for all their advertisement.

Now you are home enjoying your free music. And overtime you hear a Rolling Stones song. You think SONY.

gussnarp's avatar

Because all music sucks now. The best period of musical creativity was when I was twelve years old. This is true no matter who says it, except a twelve year old.

Cartman's avatar

If you have customers that are willing to commit a crime to consume your product. The right way to handle your customers is:

a) to be flattered
b) to sue them for millions of dollars

NewZen's avatar

Let’s all welcome @TheLastMan and give him some lurve. He has “one” lurverolla.


gussnarp's avatar

@NewZen According to my math you must be 51 years old.

patg7590's avatar

@TheLastMan back and forth banter is preferred here, on the main page, not in PM’s

What do I think is killing the music industry?

Crappy music


the MAFIAA treating some of thier best customers like criminals.

I don’t buy music from big labels because I feel like I’m giving money to Halliburton, Enron, or the Government.

I would much rather buy from a small label, or from the band themselves at a show.

here is an example.

Once I went to see a band I really like at a bar. It was a smaller show, close to 100 people. After the show, I wanted to buy a shirt and cd, the band was also taking donations because some stuff has went bad on thier tour van. I didn’t have enough for both a shirt and a cd (10+12), so I asked if they could cut me a deal. They told me they only made $3 or so profit on each cd so they couldn’t. I ended up giving them 20, just for the shirt, and told them I’d just download the album. (illegally, for free) The band members thought that was a great idea.

so you see it’s about the principal of the thing. I don’t trust big labels. I think they’re excessive and selfish and just plain mean

think of me as the peter pan of the music industry

patg7590's avatar

@TheLastMan lurve
welcome to Fluther

jaketheripper's avatar

The music industry isn’t dying it’s just changing. I think soon we wont see as many rock stars making millions but hundreds more full time artists getting by just like the rest of us. So many people are falling into niches with their listening habits instead of just buying whatever the radio pushes. This means more artists making less money. Some would call this dying but I would call it growth.

ragingloli's avatar

because they produce crap.

CMaz's avatar

“I think soon we wont see as many rock stars making millions but hundreds”

When will that happen with the NBA, NFL and National Baseball.

gggritso's avatar

@gussnarp You’re joking, right? All music sucks now? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in months.

ragingloli's avatar

the music market is flooded with mass produced generic rappers and britney spears clones. in all honesty, the music industry would have to pay ME to make me listen to that garbage from the garbage factory

TheLastMan's avatar

So, ragingloli, do you listen to music? And, if so, how do the artists you like seem to make a living?

crunchaweezy's avatar


I download so many singles, albums, movies, remixes, etc. by “other” means. And sometimes I show my friends what’s new on iTunes and some quality stuff that I’ve bought, they go:


RareDenver's avatar

I wouldn’t say it is dying, just changing. The big labels are taking smaller risks with new artists as their margins are being squeezed because they are too shortsighted to embrace new distribution technologies, thus we end up with the same drivel being re-hashed again and again. However, more and more people are choosing to self produce as the technology becomes more accessible and self distribute.

The good music is out there, you just gotta get off your backside and go look for it. It’s so much more exciting that way too.

missingbite's avatar

Part of the reason is the cost associated with touring. I just saw U2 night before last in San Antonio. Our tickets were good. Not front row and not nose bleed. Ticket price, $108.70 face value. Vertigo tour in 05’ I paid $58.60 face value for the same type of seat. I also read that the reason U2 added tour dates was because the tour didn’t start making money until after the San Antonio show. $750,000 just to move the stage each time. The show was good, but a much smaller scaled down show that was less expensive would have been better.

Ria777's avatar

@patg7590:I would much rather buy from a small label, or from the band themselves at a show.

you absolutely should.

Amanda Palmer has asked her listeners to give her money directly.

it matters to me to talk about this because I happen to know her. she has asked her record company to release her from her contract, which, so far they have not allowed her to do, and she can sell her music and stuff with less a middleman. (please pass on this information to listeners of her music and spread the word.)

see also the Steve Albini essay “The Problem with Music” by a career musician (now producer):

apparently things have not changed since he wrote this.

Ria777's avatar

a factoid of unknown reliability: music companies earn most of their money from their back catalog, rather than new music. I have a hunch that people who steal music assume that a famous established artist from a decade or so past won’t go hungry if they flich their music and definitely not if they have died. (I don’t know what kind of royalties session musicians, etc., make off these recordings. I have always wondered this.)

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

To answer the question posted to @ragingloli I listen to music, but the people I listen to are mostly dead. I listen to this and it’s free.

RareDenver's avatar


Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.


patg7590's avatar

@RareDenver perhaps you could try a proxy or get a friend in the US to set up a ToR relay for you :]

Ria777's avatar

@RareDenver: they have alternatives to Pandora that’ll work. I found a site that offered a similar service that works with countries other than the u.s.

RareDenver's avatar

@Ria777 and @patg7590

can I DJ on these things and play this? Slightly Different Mix by RareDenver

Ria777's avatar

@RareDenver: you can’t upload your own tracks to Pandora (or the other one the name of which I forget). if you look you can find internet radio sites where you can DJ. off the top of my head I can think of Shoutcast, though that has limitations, at least to the listener. you have to subscribe and pay money to get premium service.

MartinDep's avatar

People love a quality music, if they don’t get the quality they will not pay high for this. Music World need huge innovations like Michale Jackson, Beatles etc did it superbly.

MrFacade's avatar

Success in anything should be based on what the individual considers success for themselves. I know/listen to indie artists that love having a faithful set of fans/followers/supporters more than they love selling out venues and selling millions of albums. Honestly, I hope that one sweet day, all the major record labels go out of business and the more worthwhile artists start earning money for themselves and not their “bosses”.

dreamwolf's avatar

It’s actually not really failing.

perkybuilder's avatar

I don’t think it is failing but I think there are many factors that have changed it.

This is the digital age so a lot of people are using the internet to get music for free. This has really crushed the Record Companies and the Artists too. All someone has to do to hear a song is go to youtube and they can listen to just about anything for free, not to mention everyone sharing it and downloading songs for free.

The part that bothers me most about this digital age is quality. So many sites offer digital downloads for cheap but it is not CD quality. If you really listen to music for quality, it is not very good and compresses an .mp3 about 10 times. I still buy CD’s and like quality and the full spectrum of frequencies! I can’t wait until everything is 24 bit and we are listening with DVD players in our cars and home stereo’s but it would take forever for someone to stream a 24bit file on the internet!

So, I think it is great we can release a song worldwide and get it out quickly but lowering the quality really bothers me and so many sites that allow music to be put up in video’s and for free has crushed the industry. I am sure most of the Record Companies are working with a budget that is much less these days as well too. (Off Topic: The movie industry is feeling the pain too).

Just putting in my 2 cents. Thanks for the topic :).

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Same reason everything else is. Commerce, commercilization, sell outs and bullshit! The quality is cranked out on an assembly line and it saturates at such a rate nothing is precious anymore, nothing is lasting, nothing is special and nothing is what they have made of yet another art form.

lutil's avatar

they are not adapting to the change in technology and artists are able to distribute their content directly to the listeners instead of going through the music industry

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