Thoughts On The Music Industry

After yesterday's article showing the illegal downloading figures, I thought I'd share a few of my ideas on the music business.

Ultimate Guitar

I was driving to work this morning and couldn't stop thinking about how sh-t the state of music is and with yesterday's publications on the illegal download figures and the comments of some of the artists, I found myself needing to let off some steam.

To cut a long story short, illegal downloading is killing the music industry. People argue that it's always been happening - bootlegs then CD copying etc - but not to the extent that it is now because the sad fact is that literally anyone with a computer can do it within seconds, downloading albums that took artists, engineers, producers and everybody else months to create.

The even sadder fact is that I can't see it slowing down. People are either too stupid to realise what's happening, or they do realise but just don't care, these are the same people who you can talk to and they will claim that they love and care about music. These are the same people who will tell you they are fed up of the generic, low quality music that we see dominating the charts today.

You can't blame the labels. Ok, maybe a bit, they do give artists a hard time but at the end of the day almost everyone of your favourite bands could never have made it without the support of a record label. At the end of the day, a record label is a business. If they're not making a lot of money because people are stealing their products, they have to stick to what they think will guarantee their survival. For example, they aren't going to take a gamble on a new rock'n'roll band who could take the country by storm, or have equal chance of completely flopping, they're going to invest on a good looking female to sing over some synth pop rhythms that took ten minutes to create on a computer. It's sound business sense.

what's even worse than illegal downloading, for me, is the arguments people give to defend it. I hear people saying "well Jay-Z/Noel Gallagher/Ed Sheeran said in an interview with blah blah that they don't mind people downloading their music illegally". What? Why do these people matter? Why would they worry about it? they're sh-tting so much money that the only thing they need to worry about is getting a bigger toilet to catch it all in. Don't ask them - ask the band who work their asses off everyday, writing new music, putting in 100% just to play in front of 50 people every week because labels can't AFFORD TO RISK SIGNING THEM. Therefore however good music they make, they have little chance of their music reaching the millions without them turning into Maroon 5.

The other flawed argument that I hear is "it's all about playing live, it doesn't matter if people download music for free because people will come and see the band in concert and they'll get their money that way". Rubbish. Again this only works for artists who have already "made it" - how the hell is a band meant to be able to play to thousands of people and make enough money without a record label backing them or an album available to the public - unless they've just won the lottery and can therefore fund it themselves.

At the moment I don't see things getting much better until people start seeing the harm illegal downloading is doing to music. Maybe I've missed some points here but I felt I had to get this off my chest.

Cheers for reading.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Okay, I had to register just to comment on this one. While I do agree with you to an extent about it being a problem, I think you're completely ignoring the other side of the coin. Illegal downloading may hurt album sales, sure. But the important thing that you, and seemingly record labels, seem to write off is that it also accomplishes one of the most important things: It gets the bands/artists name out there. Would I be more likely to pay to see a band that I've illegally downloaded music for, or a band who's album I bought and it turned out only one song was enjoyable? Just a matter of perspective..