Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Time for music to downsize to a cottage industry?

There’s one area of the future of the music business debate which rarely gets aired and that’s the question about if there is actually a future for the industry. The recent huffing and puffing about Spotify payments brings realities about …

Fri, Nov 25, 2011, 10:00

   

There’s one area of the future of the music business debate which rarely gets aired and that’s the question about if there is actually a future for the industry.

The recent huffing and puffing about Spotify payments brings realities about future revenue streams to the surface. Put bluntly, no-one is going to be able to afford a Los Angeles pad on the back of streaming royalties alone.

Add in the slump in revenue in other sections – and there is a slump, despite the regular spin from industry bodies to the contrary – and you’ve an industry desparetely looking for new options.

One possibility is downsizing and becoming a cottage industry again. When Wired magazine asked some observers for their views on what was to come, CD Baby founder Derek Silver predicted that the “’music industry’ will become an unusual phrase, like ‘poetry industry’. Making music is as easy as writing poetry. There’s no money in it.”

While acts earning the sums of money which powered the lore of the dirt-rich rock star may be rare, there is still a viable possibility of making a living from music. It all comes down to realistic expectations. Those dreamers who expect the big record deal and everything that comes with it may have to keep on dreaming, but there is definitely still room for those who are pragmatic about what they’re doing and what they can earn.

Such downsizing can be energising. As we’ve seen with the retail sector, from new boutique stores like Elastic Witch and Plugd to the upcoming 7s-Eleven one-day record label market in London, it’s all about fresh thing and new approaches. The old days may be over, but why dwell on them when there’s future potential to be tapped?

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