The Evolution (or not?) of the Music Industry in 21st Century

Supreet Cheema 0

Over the past decade or so, the music industry has seen itself evolve immensely. The kind of music being played has changed, new genres have been added and the quality of music being produced has enhanced. However, the most important evolution has been of HOW we acquire the music we want to listen to. This is evident from the fact that the number of total albums sold in the year 2000 in USA was 785 million compared to 257 million sold in 2014. The biggest losers of this decrease in album sales haven’t been the recording artists, but the recording labels that own the marketing rights to these artists. The reason behind this downward trend, as you may have already guessed, has been the introduction of digital downloading & streaming over the internet. Now, people have a choice of either downloading low quality music from an abundance of websites or stream high quality (album-like) music from streaming sites. For the latter, you have to pay a fixed amount via subscription packages.
 
The question that remains now is – How are music labels still flourishing despite these factors? The BIG 3 of the music industry – Universal, Sony & Warner Music Group have had to be smart in coping with this change.
 
Last year, Warner acquired a stake in SoundCloud, in the process allowing SoundCloud to legally stream music of some of its artists. What did Warner gain from it? A 5% stake in a company valued upwards of a billion dollars. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. What we don’t know and what hasn’t been discussed publicly is that the BIG 3 have slowly clawed into the digital music sharing business by acquiring minority stakes in music streaming behemoths like Spotify & Rdio by bartering cheaper deals which revolve around giving these apps access to a larger database of artists.
 

Supreet Cheema

Exceptionally passionate about music especially Electronic Dance Music. Freelance Disc-Jockey. Writer at GrapeVineOnline.in and various other platforms.