Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Re-arranging the deckchairs on the record industry Titanic

The record industry’s navel-gazing continues. This week, Universal boss David Joseph talked about the industry’s ongoing “horror movie” and how 2010 was “a terrible, terrible year for breaking new artists.” Joseph was speaking to Universal workers who had gathered for …

Fri, Feb 11, 2011, 10:01

   

The record industry’s navel-gazing continues. This week, Universal boss David Joseph talked about the industry’s ongoing “horror movie” and how 2010 was “a terrible, terrible year for breaking new artists.”

Joseph was speaking to Universal workers who had gathered for an informal Open Day event at the staff canteen in London.

As reported by Adam Sherwin for Beehive City, Joseph talked about how only nine UK debut albums sold more than 100,000 copies in 2010. In 2007, that figure was three times as much, while 100,000 used to be seen as a fairly modest return for a heavily promoted new act in years past.

Universal aren’t the only major currently taking stock of a changing landscape. Between EMI’s recent woes and Warner Music’s latest losses, which were reported during the week, it’s not a great time to be a major label executive.

But just as you have to wonder if the Irish economy can be fixed by those who got us into this mess, are record label bosses the ones who can steer the ship away from the rocks?

After all, they’re the ones who consistently shirked the challenges or picked the wrong battles. For example, talk of revenues from digital downloads ignores the fact that this sphere for the majors is also under-performing.

Look at the map which Virtual Music and Compete put together of the top sites when it comes to web-based music consumption in the US in 2010. Streaming is now the way of the walk and that, for now, means even less cash in the tin-can for the labels.

There will always be a music business, but it remains to be seen what sort of a record business, aside from catalogue pimping, will remain once the dancing is over.

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