We have got to the stage where everyone seems to have admitted to the inevitable end of the music industry as we know it. At first this actually excited me music itself will never stop but whatever rose out of the ashes was sure to learn from the previous mistakes. Until I realised that this is life and what would people actually meant was simply that the major record companies would go bust. If this happened, smaller labels would get the big artists or artists themselves would start new labels and the process would start again. But that first stage is unlikely to happen on a major scale, and here I'll demonstrate why.
1. PiracyThe music industry isn't just wallowing in its own stupidity as they watch their cash-flow crumble before their eyes. Piracy is an issue, and an issue being dealt with. People don't realise that quite literally hundreds of piracy websites are being closed every week. Albeit these are the smaller ones, but now "Megaupload" has gone, and other major sites will follow.
Some people don't realise that piracy isn't a new thing, but it has always existed. It is now a much bigger problem, but it has still been around since recorded music. Piracy will always continue to exist, but it will be much more difficult in the near future. And humanity can't be bothered with anything difficult. Trying to illegally download an album will involve spending hours searching through google for a website disguised as something else. And this website will be gone in a few weeks. Only the most dedicated hackers can be bothered with that. Piracy has peaked, and will come to a crashing halt over the next few years.
This coincides with new platforms from which to listen to music with. Spotify is the best of these, allowing unlimited music either for free or on a subscription based system. Too good to be true right? Well it is real, and streaming music is giving the public an easy way to listen to whatever their heart's desire wants. YouTube is another way people listen to a lot of music these days, and for this it pays the record companies based on the views. So many music videos have millions of YouTube views. "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys has 12 million views but only peaked at 64 in the US Billboard. This spells a lot of money for the record industry.
2. TouringHere's a question which bands have made the most money over the last few years? If you'd said the big sellers like The Black Eyed Peas and Beyonce you would be wrong. It's actually been U2 and Bon Jovi. And how many records do you think they have sold in the last five years. Well they haven't been in the charts, there's no questioning that. So much money is in touring, and musicians have consistently shown that they can sell out major stadiums in minutes flat. This is where a large chunk of the money in music is, rather then total record sales
3. T.V.It may be a horrible thing, but "The X Factor" and "American Idol" among other talent shows are some of the most watched TV programmes. This is a constant and easy money stream for record companies for various reasons massive royalty cheques for the cover songs, marketable personalities (in talent shows sob stories are more important then talent), and guaranteed stars. Granted, they are terrible stars, but they allow the industry to make money to fund other artists and to survive.
4. RecognitionIt is easier then ever for new bands to get recognised. The internet is full of websites dedicated to the newest bands, the BBC has 6Music and "BBC Introducing" and iTunes have recently launched their "New Artists" section. This means that it won't be the same old bands clogging up the systems, but allows for a more "free-flowing" industry, where those who were popular but have lost their spark aren't forced in by an unwillingness to invest in bands that aren't household names.
5. Money For The ArtistsFor a band to make money they need to give it their all. The bands that really push their name, and put the money the make to good use are the ones that become global. A great example of this is Arcade Fire. They invested money into their albums and videos when they were much smaller, and now they have become one of the biggest bands in the world, they make about three times more then they would from every sale.
6. The Digital Revolution Can Be A Good ThingDigital music is now the crux of the industry. And again, this can be a massive advantage for smaller bands. Digital music allows much cheaper costs of production, as engineering the sound onto a record or CD takes time and money. A lot. And now as the demand for their music shifts, they have to make less records and CDs, and simply send the audio files to iTunes and other MP3 retailers. And this costs literally pennies. And in terms of recording, this not only allows for ore flexibility and makes it cheaper.
These points show the avenue for which artists present and future can find platforms for which to get not only get back onto the big money playing fields that they used to enjoy, but to make more money then they ever have before.