How changes and disruptions in the music industry have modified its creation, reception as well as perception

A clear example of a change or disruption changing an aspect of the media is by looking at the music industry. The 19th century marked a historical turn for music, the creation of technology such as the Phonograph (1897) and Gramophone (1889) meant music didn’t need to be played live to be listened to, this event shaped and changed the music industry onwards. This event led to music being broadcasted and by the 1920s national broadcasting systems began to grow around Europe. Now music could be recorded and distributed the creation, reception and perception of the music industry was changed forever.

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The development of new technology is key in showing a constant and clear change in the way music is recorded and distributed, this subsequently changes the industry as a whole. Originally beginning with the development of the Phonograph (1897) technology evolved into vinyl records. According to Record Collectors guild ‘in 1930, RCA Victor launched the first commercially-available vinyl long-playing record’. Vinyl records were used mainly for music until the late 20th century when they were replaced by tapes (1963) and eventually CDs (1982) leading into MP3 downloads and streaming. This shows a clear development in the way music has been distributed and received by audiences and clearly links the creations of the 19th century to the music technology and distribution we see today. Alternatively recently vinyl records are seeing are seeing a revival, an 2015 article from the Guardian states ‘vinyl may still make up only 1.5% of record sales in Britain, but the figure’s up from 0.1% in 2007.’ This is another disruption that has changed the industry as it now means distributers and labels will now need to look at returning to selling music through vinyl records. Additionally the constantly evolving technology will be forever changing the industry as labels, artists and distributers will need to keep up with the current trends and technology so they know what is currently preferred and what has become obsolete. Consequently this will affect the way audiences receive music showing how just simply the changes and disruptions in technology alone and the popularity of it modifies the music industry. Moreover this is also shows how the technology from the 19th century has evolved into the digital music marketing we see today and how from the invention of those devices onwards the industry has constantly been modified and changed.                                                                ipod-pink

Undeniably a change to the industry as a whole is the rise of the internet and digital marketing. According to an article from The Balance called ‘Music distribution defined’ music distribution is ‘the way that recorded music gets in the hands of consumers’.  Before online streaming and digital downloads music distribution ran through music labels. Described by Prof Don McCubbrey on Boudnless.com as the ‘Traditional Model’ this model talks of how artists would be signed to a label. The label would then provide a number of services including sending ‘the recorded music to manufactures who reproduce and package the music. Finally the retailers market and sell the packaged goods to the final consumers.’ However this meant the artists did not receive a large cut of the profits and this model is now no longer implemented as it as seen as unfeasible. This is in no small part due to us entering the first phase of digital media consumption as 1999 saw the rise of piracy networks and by 2003 we had the rise of download stores like ITunes which first launched in 2001. This meant artists no longer had to rely on labels to distribute their music and can could promote and distribute their music themselves. A clear example of this being done successfully is seen in Patrik Wilkstorms book ‘The Music Industry’ in this he talks of Nine Inch Nails singer, Trent Renzor. “After having ended a relationship with the Universal label Interscope Records. For ‘Ghosts I-IV’ Renzor decided an appropriate distribution channel would be the official Nine Inch Nails website ‘nin.com’”. Renzor released the songs under a licence which meant they could be remixed and invited fans to remix the songs and upload them to the website where they could share and rate each other’s versions. Wilkstorm describes fans reception to the project as ‘cannot be labelled as anything but exceptional.’ Wilkstorms comments show that the project was a clear success and how it’s an example of how distribution has evolved thanks to technology as music artists can now successfully distribute their music themselves. He continues to say ‘certainly various digital technologies were used to create, promote and distribute Ghosts I-IV but what makes the project even more significant is how these technologies shaped its fundamental structure and logic.’ Other artists have also succeeded using methods similar to this, such as the indie rock band Arctic Monkeys. The band are well known through becoming famous due to self-promotion as back in 2005 they released all their music online for free and allowed fans to fans to copy their CDs and sell them onwards, this created a word of mouth buzz about the band gaining their popularity. This strategy was a clear success for the band as by the time their first album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ was released in 2006 ‘they were so well known that sales soared to 118,000 within days in Britain.’ Arctic Monkeys, ‘The Ghosts I-IV project’ as binary opposites of the ‘Traditional Model’ show two clear ways in which music can be distributed. Additionally they show clearly how the internet and online downloads have disrupted the music industry and modified the way music is distributed as well as the way it’s received by audiences changing the industry entirely. They also show the way this change has benefited certain artists as it has expanded the way they can distribute their music.

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Conversely a change in music that has affected the profits of the industry as well as the way it’s viewed by various people is the rise of online streaming services. According to research done on the Business insider based on evidence on a chart that shows US record music revenue from 1973 to 2009 ‘the music industry is down 64% from its peak’. The rise of online streaming site such as Apple Music (2015) and Spotify (2008) has led to music artists actually deleting content off them due to a loss in profits. Despite this an article by Luis Aguiar and Joel Waldfogel on the National Bereau of Economic research suggests the opposite. This article argues that even if streaming services displace individual track sales ‘streams may however still raise overall revenue if the streaming payment is large enough in relation to the extent of sales displacement.’ Using Spotify as an example they come to the conclusion that ‘that interactive streaming appears to be revenue-neutral for the recorded music industry’. Here the creation of streaming services has not only impacted the revenue the industry creates as well as the profits the label and artist receive, but also affected the way the industry itself is perceived with some believing the advancement in technology is a positive thing for the industry and others the opposite. One cannot argue that this is not another clear example of a change in music that has directly affected the industry as a whole.picture1

 

 

Unarguably all these changes and disruptions to music have not only shaped the way the industry is today but will continue to shape the industry onwards. According to a table on MIDiA we are now entering ‘the fourth phase of Digital Media consumption.’ With the first phase being the rise of piracy networks, to download stores, to streaming services and finally to the phase we’re in today which is rise of ‘curated’ and listen services. These services will no doubt shape the future of the industry which suggests the future of the industry will follow the pattern of expanding further digitally, which it has done since the first phase of digital music back 1999. Wilkstorm supports this point by stating ‘the new music industry dynamics are characterized by high connectivity and little control.’ This talks of how there are many ways for music to be accessed and shared by the consumer but this also creates problems in the industry such as piracy. This points suggests that the expansion of the music industry will undoubtedly lead to the consumer being able to access music even easier in the future. Subsequently this will broaden the ways in which music can be shared and listened to however will also expand the problems in the industry like piracy and loss of money to the artists themselves. Alternatively, the damage digital music is doing to the industry suggests it may not be the future of music. An article from the Digital Music News website talks of how streaming services like Spotify are ‘routinely accused of treating artists poorly through duplicitous contract structures and low payments’. Evidence to support this would be Taylor Swift’s public argument with Apple over royalty concerns, which has led to many artists removing songs off streaming websites suggesting that if this continues the future of the industry may not involve these sort of streaming services. Further evidence to support this is the revival in vinyl CDs, the article does state ‘Vinyl LP sales are surging year-over-year’ therefore the future of the industry may see music returning to a less digitalised form of distribution. Despite the various possibilities for the future of the industry it seems logical to suggest the future is through digital technology as despite problems with streaming services they are still growing constantly regardless. Furthermore according to ‘innovation enterprise’ digital marketing provides additional benefits for artists ‘using data through Youtube, Spotify and other sources can show an artist where they should invest more time into touring due to the span of the audience.’ As well as this the rise of social media means music can now be easily shared between audiences, making it easier for artists to gain a following and gives them more ways to do so. These arguments and points are clear examples of the how changes in the music industry have impacted not only the music as we know it today, but the way people view the future of the industry and the future of the industry itself.

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In conclusion, by looking at the industry through: the advancement of technology, changes to distribution, changes to revenue and the future of the industry itself it is clear how changes in the music industry have modified its creation, reception and perception. The creation of the technology in the 19th century was the key event to starting this has it evolved into devices such as vinyl records, tapes, and CDs creating on ongoing snowball effect. Subsequently this led into the digital age with the internet and rise of piracy networks in 1999 and online downloads in 2003. By this point the industry was drastically changed has what followed were changes in music distribution, such as how artists could now distribute and create a buzz about their own music without relying on labels to do so (key examples of this being done by artists successfully is seen through the Arctic Monkeys and Nine Inch Nails.) This changed the way audiences received music and the way in which they responded to the industry as well as this it also changed the way the industry itself operated. Following this were online streaming services which changed the way people perceived the industry as various stories and debates regarding the amount of revenue artists received from these sites made people question is they benefited or damaged the industry. From here the changes and disruptions to music altered the industry in a clear number of ways but furthermore also affected the possible future of the music industry also. As we enter ‘The fourth phase of digital Media consumption’ it seems clear that the industry will continue to grow into new platforms and services. Also with the problems on online streaming services now clear artists will now be in a better position to negotiate with these services as they continue to expand. Despite this, the slow revival in vinyl CDs suggest that the industry may also be returning to older devices also showing how technology and the opinions of the consumers themselves have affected the future of the industry. Finally, one cannot argue that the creation of the technology from the 19th century did not lead into us entering the digital age which then severely modified the music industry in a clear number of ways. From here it is clear to see how these changes have shaped the way the industry is: created, received and perceived and how that will affect its future onwards.

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Bibliography

‘The way that recorded music gets in the hands of consumers’

https://www.thebalance.com/music-distribution-defined-2460499

‘In 1930, RCA Victor launched the first commercially-available vinyl long-playing record’

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/14/vinyl-revival-music-here-to-stay

‘The recorded music to manufactures who reproduce and package the music. Finally the retailers market and sell the packaged goods to the final consumers.’ –  Prof Don McCubbrey

https://www.boundless.com/users/235420/textbooks/business-fundamentals/adding-products-and-services-13/adding-products-and-services-52/examples-of-business-models-from-the-music-industry-245-15548

“After having ended a relationship with the Universal label Interscope Records. For ‘Ghosts I-IV’ Renzor decided an appropriate distribution channel would be the official Nine Inch Nails website ‘nin.com’”

‘Cannot be labelled as anything but exceptional’

‘Certainly various digital technologies were used to create, promote and distribute Ghosts I-IV but what makes the project even more significant is how these technologies shaped its fundamental structure and logic.’

‘The new music industry dynamics are characterized by high connectivity and little control.’

ikstrom, P. (2009). The music industry : Music in the cloud (Digital media and society series). Cambridge: Polity.

‘Vinyl may still make up only 1.5% of record sales in Britain, but the figure’s up from 0.1% in 2007.’

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/14/vinyl-revival-music-here-to-stay

‘They were so well known that sales soared to 118,000 within days in Britain.’

http://www.bizreport.com/2006/09/arctic_monkeys_break_the_mould_on_marketing_strategy.html

‘The music industry is down 64% from its peak’. 

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-charts-explain-the-real-death-of-the-music-industry-2011-2?IR=T

‘Streams may however still raise overall revenue if the streaming payment is large enough in relation to the extent of sales displacement.’ – – Luis Aguiar, Joel Waldfogel

‘That interactive streaming appears to be revenue-neutral for the recorded music industry’. – Luis Aguiar, Joel Waldfogel

http://www.nber.org/papers/w21653

‘The fourth phase of Digital Media consumption.’

https://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/musicqubed-puts-the-rise-of-listen-services-into-numbers/

‘Routinely accused of treating artists poorly through duplicitous contract structures and low payments’.

Vinyl LP sales are surging year-over-year’

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/07/22/music-industry-99-problems-2/

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