Is It Over For The Music Industry?

Author: Bill Dudley

After attending my third Fleetwood Mac concert of their current tour (yes I’m a big fan), I started thinking about how much the once very healthy music industry has changed in the past 15 years.

Back in 1999, the global music industry grossed close to 27 billion. Today it is less than half of that, having fallen to under 15 billion, nearly a 50% drop.

People still want music, they just feel they no longer need to own it. What’s even scarier for many newer artists is, the current generation doesn’t think they should have to pay for music at all.

The major acts like Earth, Wind & Fire, Beyonce, Chicago, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Billy Joel, Diana Ross and The Eagles can still fill a large venue, with their fans shelling out $100-$200 (or more) per ticket. But what happens when these acts no longer decide (or are unable) to tour?

Many longtime music venues are closing. When you hear that sales of vinyl records are picking up, that is true. Young music fans will pay almost anything for a vinyl copy of a classic Beatles, Miles Davis or Otis Redding album from a previous generation. This is encouraging, however it is still a very small part of the total global music market.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller is the biggest selling album of all time, over 100 million copies, many of those sales coming after his passing. I’m thinking that will never happen again. Having been a huge music fan and record collector all of my life, I am worried about the future of my first love, music.

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