Talk:Music industry

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If you want a list of people who produce good quality music using their own equipment but will probably never get a "record deal", look at MySpace. The only one I can name off the top of my head is Midnight Hour. Happy01000101 (talk) 06:17, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

There most definitely needs to be more information on South Korea's recent dramatic increase in the music industry, the graphs and tables are very out of date. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Discussion archives[edit]

  • February 2006 – August 2009 – Topics: Imhorst article · Wikipedia is not a crystal ball · The Usage of the word "controlled" · Bronfman=Canada, Bronfman=Warner, Warner=Canada · Marked for cleanup · Sources: Erroneous Data / UMG market share · Germany sales figures · Where is Korea for the digital sales? · Market or industry · Requested move · What about the inclusion of Live Music as part of the industry? · Aspiring artist · External links · interesting archived discussion/debate · Other than recorded music · Vs. Recording Industry and What about live music? · Subscription Services · Merge · Does anyone like this

Toning down business section bias[edit]

The business structure section contains a paragraph about the sale of sound recordings and how this translates into royalties for artists. Prior to my edits of 10 and 13 Sep 2009, this aspect of the music industry was characterized too simply. By failing to mention that the labels' revenues from sales of sound recordings are not "royalties", and that the disbursement of actual royalties from such sales depends on the contracts artists have with labels, the reader is misled into accepting the romantic notion that all artists receive royalties from any sales of the sound recordings they participated in, which is untrue — some recordings are "works for hire" for which the artist receives no royalties whatsoever, and more commonly, contracts with artists (such as one I have, myself) require a minimum level of sales to recoup the label's investment before the artists are entitled to any royalties. Furthermore, the vast majority of sound recordings generate little or no revenue, as demonstrated by PRS Chief Economist Will Page's recent article refuting the 'Long Tail' theory as it applies to online music sales.[1] That is, sales correspond to popularity, and the popular recordings are only a small portion of those available. Thus it's improper to imply that all recordings generate revenues, let alone royalties. IMHO such oversimplifications indicate bias, perhaps unintentional, in favor of the labels and publishers who stand to gain from it.

That's why I made the following edits, which were soon reverted by "David T Tokyo":

  • When CDs sell…part of the money is returned to the performers in the form of royalties is an example I changed, as per the above rationale, so it doesn't cut out the very important middleman, the record label. I changed it to When CDs sell…part of the money is returned to the sound recording copyright owners — the record companies — who may, depending on the agreements they have with the performers, share a portion of that money with the performers in the form of royalties.
  • An anonymous visitor changed Most recordings only earn royalties for a short period after they are released. to Most recordings generate substantial revenues for a short period after they are released. The edit summary said Previous version…made it sound like royalties stopped being paid after a short period of time which is not true. I see how the change does alleviate the stated concern, but it resulted in the statement Most recordings generate substantial revenues which is, as I mentioned above, insufficient. I changed it to Most recordings, if they generate substantial revenues, generate them only for a short period after they are released.
  • The clause after which the song becomes part of the "back catalogue" or library was grammatically incorrect due to disagreement in number (recordings vs. song), and didn't explain what being in the "back catalogue" means, economically. I changed it to a separate sentence: Afterward, the songs become part of the "back catalogue" or library, where they become candidates for future re-release, such as on compilations or licensed for use in film or television.
  • This pair of sentences was somewhat awkward: A much smaller number of recordings have become "classics", with longstanding popularity, such as albums by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. These albums have continued to earn royalties for the surviving band members decades after their original release date. The second sentence is really just referring to the Beatles and Rolling Stones albums, but it's too easy to read it as meaning that artists get royalties from all classic albums. Again this is just an example of painting with too broad a brush, probably not even intentionally, and my attempt to improve it by replacing surviving band members with record companies (although I forgot to change royalties to revenues) shouldn't be regarded as disingenuous.
  • Lastly, the iTunes brand & software isn't quite the same thing as the iTunes Store online music vendor, so I replaced mentions of iTunes with iTunes Store. This shouldn't have been blindly reverted along with my other edits.

I went ahead and re-did my edits, adjusted a bit and incorporating "David T Tokyo"'s additional fixes, but omitting my back-catalogue clarification, so the paragraph now reads as follows: When CDs sell in stores or on websites such as the iTunes Store, part of the money obtained by the record label for the sales may be paid to the performers in the form of royalties. Of the recordings which generate substantial revenues for the labels, most do so only for a short period after they are released, after which the song becomes part of the label's "back catalogue" or library. A much smaller number of recordings have become "classics", with longstanding popularity, such as CDs by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. These albums have continued to generate revenue for the labels and often, in turn, royalties for artists, long after their original release.

Of course the fact remains that this entire section is mostly uncited. That shouldn't be used as an excuse to retain inaccurate and misleading generalizations. The entire article is fair game for continued improvement, and the addition of citations is part of that. I will devote as much time as I can to seeking out references where necessary. If there are specific claims that anyone feels need attributions more than others, please tag them as needing citations so I can give them higher priority. Thanks! —mjb (talk) 07:14, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree with your edits and I agree very strongly that this section needs to be rewritten both for clarity and comprehensiveness. The section is very poorly organized, in my view. It dwells on some details and ignores others. As a whole, I don't think it really explains how the money flows through the music business from ticket sales and retail into the pockets of musicians, promoters, managers, record companies and everyone else.
What we need is a paragraph that describes the basic idea of a recording contract first, and then finds a simple way to list all the caveats. Traditional recording contracts are insanely complicated (think of "free goods") and have only become more complicated and varied in the 21st century, as lawyers, managers and record companies attempt to re-invent the business. There is almost nothing you can say about record contracts that applies to all of them, or even the majority of them.
However, this article needs to get across the basic ideas first. There is a shocking number of people out there who think that recording artists aren't "really" paid by iTunes at all.
Anyway, having said that, I apologize that I don't have the time to write a truly elementary introduction to the business of music that is well organized, sourced and flows well. If either of you is interested in doing a major overhaul of this section, I would help with what I can. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 23:10, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I have boldly rewritten this section. My main goal was to describe the way money typically flows through the music business, without getting caught up in unimportant details. As I said above, the reality is far more complicated than the section could possibly describe. The section is peppered with dozens of "usually"s and "typically"s and "traditionally"s.
If we want to fix this section more, could we please use footnotes to describe the exceptions and counter examples? Otherwise the reader will never understand the whole system on a first reading. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 22:31, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

'Recorded Music Retail Sales' table[edit]

This table is not very informative. The last column "change" - change of what? And compared to what? The sales - in what units are they? It's hard to believe the total sales were just over $12,000. For what period is it? I'm guessing one year. Which one? What's the source of these data?

Independovirus (talk) 22:24, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

There seems really something to be wrong witrh the numbers: --Christian140 (talk) 20:50, 18 May 2012 (UTC)


FYI On the "read" page, organization is spelled incorrectly. On the "edit" page, it is spelled incorrectly. Is this a computer "glitch"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:12, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Both spellings (organization, organisation) are correct. These are regional differences. People who contributed to the article just used what was right for them. Ideally they should all be made consistent in the article. See WP:ENGVAR for Wikipedia's policy on this. MOS:SPELLING and the more detailed American and British English spelling differences may be interesting reading for you. —mjb (talk) 22:43, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

"Swiss" is not a country, it should be "Switzerland" Vinbrendel (talk) 02:09, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Graphics and illustrations needed[edit]

We need a graphic for dropping revenues in the music industry. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:05, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Something like this? ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 13:11, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
The ideal graphic, in my view, would be a layered graph, showing how consumer spending has changed. It would include layers for (a) Physical sales (b) Digital downloads (c) Streaming (d) Live music revenues (e) Music-related consumer electronics. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 13:14, 25 May 2012 (UTC)


I find it very difficult to believe that streaming has made any real impact on the decline. Streaming services (such as Pandora, Spotify, etc.) pay notoriously little. I'd like to see some hard numbers. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 13:11, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

The IFPI's declining sales figures, and the way they are presented here, implies that the record industry has X% less money than it did before and that piracy is the one and only reason for that. But these figures are selective and misleading.
Physical product sales are certainly in decline. Some pundits attribute the decline in music purchases to consumer disillusionment with a decline in quality and homogenization of music, but I haven't seen any compelling evidence to back that up. What I have seen reported is 1. less physical product is being made (arguably in response to declining sales), 2. there's increasing competition from other forms of entertainment (video and games, especially), 3. since the mid-2000s, people have been buying more digital product (downloads from web stores), and 4. a not-insignificant number of would-be customers resorted to piracy.
More recently, though, piracy and sales of both physical and digital product have been getting hit by 5. competition from streaming in all its forms (net radio, cloud storage, social music), both licensed and unlicensed (although digital sales are still up, apparently). You're right, these streaming services aren't as profitable for the industry as product sales, but I've seen reports that non-product-sales sources of revenue are more than making up for the decline in product sales (see below); so piracy is, arguably, a red herring, and the music industry is profiting more than ever.
It's OK to talk about piracy and shifts in what forms of music and other entertainment are responsible, but we shouldn't be saying anything in the article to make it seem like the music industry is collapsing and that it's all due to piracy. The industry is booming, piracy is on the decline, and there are notable shifts in where and how consumers are spending their entertainment budgets.
For numbers, probably a very good source is the trove of reports at Dow Jones Statista; just enter 'music' in the search box. A fair amount of their content requires paid access, but you can probably do a web search for the title of the stats/reports in question and find third-party reports based on the same data.
However, I tend to be drawn more to infographics:
Here are more sources:
Pro-file-sharing blog TorrentFreak occasionally conducts analyses of recent industry reports. Here are a couple that touch on the topic at hand:
And here's an interesting pair from BPI; draw your own conclusions (I know, we're not allowed to, but still):
I know I've seen more, but these are just the ones I found in my bookmarks and with some cursory searches. I can do more research as time permits.
If nothing else, I hope this convinces you of the need to acknowledge non-piracy factors, especially the rise of streaming/social music services as a significant factor in the decline of physical product sales, and more generally just to be cautious and not just blindly parrot the music industry's selective statistics and pronouncements. —mjb (talk) 08:12, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
The article does not blame file sharing for the decline in revenues. It just reports that there is a decline. It does not identify the source of the decline. It criticizes the "law enforcement" approach taken by the RIAA. It even mentions that there exist sources that claim that the decline in revenues isn't due to filesharing. (And in fact, I tend to agree; as Steve Jobs argued in his "no more DRM" letter, the real culprit is probably CD-burning, not filesharing. University of Georgia professor and musician David Lowery argues in this that the cause of the decline is just the crappy structure of the deals that the technology industry has offered musicians. He may have a point.)
I need to look at your sources more closely. But at first glance, I have to say this, and I don't mean to offend. Some of your sources claim there has been no decline. I'm sorry, but these source have no more merit than holocaust denials. For those of us who work in the industry, the decline is obvious and the signs of it have been everywhere: major, well loved and well run firms (like Tower Records, A&M studios or the Hit Factory) have been forced out of business. People we know have lost their jobs. Surely, in 2012, we don't need to argue any more about whether the music industry has lost a truckload of money. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:25, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Come to think of it, an even better number would be to estimate artists' gross income, by taking into consideration all the percentages involved. (a) Record companies take about 45% of retail to pay out unrecouped advances to artists, market and promote records, and, yes, to buy big houses, although not so much any more. (b) Retail stores take about 40% off the top (for rent, inventory risks, etc.) (c) Streaming services pay very small amounts, but there's not a published percentage that everybody knows. How do their royalty expenses relate to their income? This would be a good number to have. (d) Downloading services (such as iTunes) takes about 30% off the top for ... nothing much, really. Because they can. (d) What is the net for touring, on average? (e) And, of course, the net for artists from consumer electronics is zero. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 13:48, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure there are sources we can cite in order to create a vague pie chart for "where the money goes" for a typical music purchase, airplay, or net radio stream. There are also sources for how much money is being poured into tours and how that relates to artist income.
But if the goal is to get a clear idea of all of the income streams for a typical recording artist, composer or lyricist, I doubt such a thing has ever been published. Contracts between artists, labels, publishers and collection societies are generally private. Labels and publishers don't want people to know how much they're making off each artist, and famous artists really don't want their finances made public, especially if they partially rely on sources of income other than direct sales of their music. Occasionally some details will surface publicly, such as in the recent lawsuit by Kenny Rogers against Capitol, but that's focusing on issues orthogonal to what we're discussing. Still, might be worth looking into more closely. —mjb (talk) 08:12, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
The "normal" percentages paid to retail, radio, management, record companies, etc. are all widely known inside the industry. There's no mystery to these numbers. Everyone needs to know them in order to do their jobs. In fact, the details of most major deals are published in Billboard. Are you speculating? ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:25, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Our original mini-edit war was over the question of whether streaming was earning enough money make up for the lost in revenues from other ways of selling recorded music. Do you any of your sources provide proof of this? The reason I ask is that (I believe) that Pandora and Rhapsody pay only fractions of a penny per spin, a very very little of that shows up in the bank accounts of musicians. I'm (coincidentally) talking to Pandora about this at the moment and I should have hard numbers soon. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:48, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, but I think we're somewhat talking past each other, here.
We agree that people are streaming more and buying less, and what they do buy isn't as profitable as the cash cow that was CDs in the '90s. And we agree that streaming is way less profitable than sales, and that it apparently doesn't offset the decline in revenue (although I'd like to see some aggregate numbers, not the oft-quoted per-listen or per-song figures, which of course aren't as profitable as downloads, why should they be?).
In the article, there's a sequence of things that are said. To paraphrase: 1. Revenues for physical product and downloads of recorded music declined greatly from 1999 to 2008. 2. The industry has downsized and struggled to adjust. 3. One of the first things they did in this period was shut down a number of file-sharing services (Napster being the most famous one), and threatened thousands of individual file-sharers, but this didn't stop the decline in revenue.
Now, you say this doesn't imply that the industry solely blames piracy for its decline in sales revenue, but I say it does. I don't see how you can read it otherwise. There's nothing about what one of the sources I mentioned calls the end of the digital “replacement cycle”, nothing about iPods, nothing about people buying tracks more than albums, nothing about people substituting purchases with streaming, nothing about people substituting purchases of music with non-music entertainment options (video games, DVDs/Blu-Ray, streaming video), nothing about people streaming music instead of buying, nothing about the fact that the music industry has other sources of revenue besides sales.
The point of emphasizing that the IFPI's figures are for a very specific type of revenue stream ("sales, not streaming") was not intended to suggest that the rise of streaming has appreciably compensated for the sales-revenue decline, or even to say that the industry's losses are overstated, although I do have my doubts (to the extent that they're selective about which figures they draw attention to, not the figures themselves). I was mainly just trying to downplay the subsequent emphasis on piracy—i.e., the arguably false implication that revenues are down solely because consumers are still getting music but have stopped paying for it, when in fact they've shifted their spending to a variety of options. Certainly there are those who engage in file-sharing of doubtful legality, but gobs of people are flocking to legal's just that these legal alternatives to buying CDs simply do not have the profit margins of CD sales.
Really, the article needs more than just a mention of streaming, in order to put sales-revenue figures in proper context. We need other metrics besides revenues, and a more complete picture of revenue sources than just sales. We also need a more thorough breakdown of what shifts are occurring in consumer spending. However, that's more than I have time for... :) —mjb (talk) 11:44, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
It's important to say this very precisely. First, many in the industry blame file sharing for the decline. This is simply a fact, and this article must report well-sourced facts. As you point out, the article implies this passively without saying it exactly. However, the article does not state that file sharing is the cause of the decline. This is not a fact, it is an opinion (and one which both you and I disagree with). There is even a sentence in the article that denies this opinion, despite the fact that this is very much a minority point of view.
To address your issues we could (1) Make sure we have the right aggregate numbers for streaming, digital downloads and physical media. (I am confident that this number will only differ by a few percent, but of course the article would be improved by the perfect number.) (2) Beef up the sentence that denies file sharing is the cause of the decline. Mention Job's letter and some of your sources. (To me, this post-game debate is somewhat pointless, but there's no reason not to give it another sentence.) (3) Add a bit more about how artists (especially older acts) have raised ticket prices and pushed merchandise harder to increase revenues. Note, however, that the big acts could have raised their prices in any decade, and they are only doing so now as a reaction to the decline in sales revenues. As such, it is not really relevant to a discussion of the severity or causes of the decline.
There is a simple, obvious and important story here. People stopped spending as much on recorded music, and the industry has had to change. This is the main point that the article needs to get across. The reasons they stopped spending money on recorded music are complicated and some of them are in dispute, but the main story is very simple. All of these minor issues should probably be covered in the article 2000s in the music industry rather than here. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 18:17, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Reading the sources[edit]

I finally found time to actually read through your sources above. I signed each of my comments below, so feel free to reply in-between.

This article claims that the value of the "music industry" is increasing. However, these numbers are either completely fictional or extremely misleading. The value of the worldwide recording industry (which is what we're discussing) is dropping, and is now in the 20-30 billion range -- nowhere near the 168 billion as this info-graphic states. The only way to get this number is to include two sectors that pay almost nothing to musicians. (1) Consumer electronics, such as digital music players, at 100 billion or so I think. They pay 0% to musicians. (2) Radio advertising, which I would think is about 15 or 20 billion, which pays less than 1% to record companies (and, if you count independent promoters, they actually charge musicians money). If you add in live music (at around 20 billion) you get a number close what 168 billion. Some of these (consumer electronics, live music) are increasing in value, so that would explain why this info graphic reports an increase. But the lion's share of this increase is in consumer electronics. I think it's hardly fair to count "consumer electronics" as part of the music industry to give the impression that the music industry is increasing in value. If there's no musician in the money chain, it's not the music industry, as far as I'm concerned.

Of course, I am speculating about the source of these numbers, and I could be wrong. There's no way to tell, because (ironically) the full article is not freely downloadable. They want to get paid. Ironic and hypocritical. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

This article explicitly describes the downturn, and places the blame on piracy, which is the opposite of the point I think you're trying to make. To quote:

For the past ten years sales of recorded music have declined so steeply as to become a cautionary tale about the disruptive power of the internet. The rise of illegal file-sharing and the end of the digital “replacement cycle”, in which people bought CDs to replace tapes and records, caused spending to collapse. Sales of CDs, tapes and records have slid by 40% in Britain since 2001, according to the BPI, which represents record labels. In Japan, the world’s biggest CD sales market, the number of discs sold fell by 6% in 2008 and 24% in 2009. Price cuts meant that revenues dropped even more steeply.

The rise in digital music-sales is scant compensation. People tend to buy tracks, not albums, from sites like Apple’s iTunes. They can obtain their favourite music much more cheaply than they could in the CD era. And even digital sales are now stalling.

The article goes on to report on how revenues from live music and merchandise have increased, mostly because ticket prices for the big acts (U2, Gaga, etc.) have gone through the roof. As I said earlier, I think this is off-topic: the issue we are discussing is the decline in revenues for recorded music, not the increase in live music ticket prices. Live music obviously has no connection to piracy. (Unless you want to argue that the fact that I have two jobs means that I deserve to be paid less for my first job, which is nonsense.)

Having said that, I should say I'm happy to include a little more about the increase in revenue from live music, and maybe this even deserves it's own paragraph. This is a great citation for that. (We should probably also report that almost all of this new money is going from older people to a handful of well-established acts, and I would probably use the Lowery article as citation for this point.) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

This is a really solid source. They talk about how the "losses due to piracy" are impossible to calculate and that the numbers publicized by the RIAA in ten years ago were grossly exaggerated. They also note that these crap numbers have ruined the credibility of RIAA. We could add this, right after the sentence that calls the RIAA's efforts a "disaster".

The book also reports that research community has vastly improved its reliability over the decade. They write that, at this point, "we view the IIPA-cited rates [generated by the IFPI and others] as at least plausible and very possibly as understating the actual prevalence of pirated goods."

Note that this book is not discussing the downturn in revenues and does not dispute the IFPI or RIAA's numbers about this. This book is discussing "losses due to piracy", which is a different number. This article (deliberately) does not report anything about the losses due piracy, and, as I mentioned above, this article does not even go so far as to claim that there is a connection between piracy and the downturn (despite the fact that almost everyone in the industry believes this is the case). ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

This has nothing about sales or streaming. It's just an opinion poll about how people feel about copyright enforcement and shows that they have mixed feelings: they want some enforcement, just small fines, nothing that violates privacy, and it should be okay to share with your family. Of course, this doesn't mean that they are right or wrong about this; it just shows that this is what they think. There is nothing in here about the issue we are discussing: the decline in revenues and the real causes of the decline. Also note that this article describes the enforcement option as a "disaster", so it's hard to accuse this article as being biased towards the music industry on the "enforcement" issue. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Hadopi (French "3 Strikes Law") Report - Shows piracy in sharp decline in 2011, and music/movie industry revenues in slight decline; critics see it as evidence the industry has problems other than piracy

Unless I missed it, there is no comparison in this article between revenue decline in France and the drop in piracy in france. Without that, this article is an argument for the enforcement option. Did I miss it? Can you tell me which page this was on? ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Pro-file-sharing blog TorrentFreak occasionally conducts analyses of recent industry reports. Here are a couple that touch on the topic at hand:

This article describes a study that showed (conclusively) that after France's Hadopi law was very publicly discussed, people bought more songs on iTunes relative to other countries, and therefor concluded that people were less to likely pirate music after they heard about the law. The article (correctly, I think) points out that it wasn't the law that turned people away from piracy, it was the discussion of the law that turned people away from piracy. The music industry claimed that this study shows enforcement works; torrent freak correctly points out that this conclusion is unwarranted. However, it does show that discussing enforcement works. (They also make a speculative argument that jump might have something to do with Spotify's rise to power the previous year, the idea being that this dropped sales in other countries. This argument requires us to believe that, for some reason, the buzz on Spotify skipped France and that the buzz suddenly stopped, coincidentally, the same month Hadopi was debated.) This is way too small a detail to be discussed in this article. At any rate, note that the article describes the enforcement option as a "disaster", so it is certainly not biased towards the music industry on the issue of enforcement. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

This article questions whether the LimeWire shut down actually raised sales at iTunes, so it addresses the general issue of exactly how much money is lost to piracy. Similar to the previous. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

And here's an interesting pair from BPI; draw your own conclusions (I know, we're not allowed to, but still):

This article documents the widespread belief throughout the industry that piracy is hurting the sales of the digital downloads. This is the opposite of the point you're trying to make, so I'm not sure why you included it. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

This notes how much digital sales have grown. This could be used as an additional citation and detail to the sentence in the article that says, "Legal digital downloads became widely available with the debut of the iTunes Store in 2003. The popularity of internet music distribution has increased and by 2012 digital music sales topped the physical sale of music." Note that the rise in digital sales has not been anywhere near enough to make for the loss of revenue from digital sources. (As the next sentence in the article states.) Also note that these two source do not contradict each other. Digital sales are rising, but not as fast as physical sales are falling, and they may be rising in spite of piracy. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Statistics section outdated[edit]

Why is the content dated back to 2005? That was 7 years ago, time to get an update! --J (t) 03:10, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

If no one is interested in maintaining the "statistics" section of the page, perhaps we should drop it. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:39, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm killing the statistics section in a few days unless someone objects. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 04:07, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree - but let's keep the link to the Global music industry market share data page. David T Tokyo (talk) 06:25, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I like seeing the historical info. We can always move it to sub-pages like was done for the Global music industry market share data. FWIW, here's some current Soundscan data: (click) (US only, I think), if someone wants to make a new pie chart. —mjb (talk) 03:49, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

What exactly is wrong with the lead? I'm happy to fix it, just don't know why it was tagged. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:42, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

It seemed pretty messy overall to me, I reworked it quite a bit and removed the label. It's not an excellent lead, but it probably just needs some tweaking now, as opposed to a complete re-write.(a citation to a source's definition of music industry, less lists of occupations in the body, better flow in the last three sentences)Forbes72 (talk) 04:02, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Do we really need a citation for a definition of the "music industry"? I really doubt this is something which is likely to be challenged. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 18:35, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Facts disputed[edit]

Exactly which facts are disputed? There are no "disputed" tags on the page. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:43, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure. The tag should be removed if we can't find what's disputed.Forbes72 (talk) 04:05, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
And...I found it. The article previously stated that EMI is a division of Universal since 2011. After checking sources, regulatory approval has not yet been granted. Fixed and cited. I'm going to remove that tag- if anyone finds more inaccuracies, just leave a message on this talk page.Forbes72 (talk) 05:14, 19 July 2012 (UTC)


The only possible section where "NPOV" is an issue would probably be the "21st century" section. All the facts in that section are well cited, and it tells the same story as the articles do. The citations are from main stream sources such as The New York Times and the Economist. The article takes great pains to report only the most certain and widely known facts about this issue. Every effort has been made to avoid bias towards either the technology industry or the music industry.

If there are specific statements that are biased, let's discuss them, and let's compare sources (as we have been doing above). The tag at the top of the page is not helpful, because it's not clear exactly what you think is biased. In my opinion, the article isn't biased. Without additional information, I will remove the tag in a few days or weeks.

We need to recognize that the music industry's difficulties in the 21st century is a an emotional issue, especially for some Wikipedians, who tend to side with the technology industry on this one. Let's just stick to what the mainstream sources say, and leave out the fringe analysis. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:53, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

I went through the section (now named "Rise of Digital distribution") and checked source-content correlation. I couldn't find any that support the 29% worldwide decline in music revenue, but given that exact numbers are given, and fact that US revenue dropped 50%, it seems quite unlikely these numbers are just made up. Everything else seems either sourced or quite reasonable. I'd welcome further improvement of sources, but I don't think any of the information here is just conjecture.Forbes72 (talk) 04:19, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


How big do the sections have to be? There's nothing in the guideline about this. This is easy to fix, if you don't like it; just edit the article. Why tag it? ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 18:17, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg DoneI combined a few, by giving history sections more descriptive names, and combining a couple under business model. Shouldn't be an issue anymore.Forbes72 (talk) 04:21, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
subject statelitlet  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 2 February 2014 (UTC) 

More information on global music industry needed[edit]

While the parent companies of Universal Music (Vivendi, France) and Sony Music (Sony, Japan) are based outside the United States, the actual music business is still based within the USA; the international arm of Universal Music is based in London, but I doubt it has significant control.

More information should also be given on the large Asian markets (Various Arabic/Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Various SEA). Only Sony and Universal have any significant interests in Asia, and Sony's share is probably far larger in Asia. Weewaterasia (talk) 01:52, 18 August 2015 (UTC)


I removed this section, because it simply isn't true:

In addition to these traditional business relationships, new ways of doing business are being developed in the 2000s. Technology, such as music production software and the Internet has had an enormous impact on how music is created and distributed. In the 1970s and 1980s, if a pop or rock band wanted to make a recording, they had to go to a professional recording studio to have the recording made, and then get a record label to market and distribute physical copies of the LP, tape, or in the 1980s, the CD. During that same time period, if a contemporary classical composer wanted to have a score and musical parts for her new symphony prepared, she would have to go to a music publishing company which had the capability to prepare professional scores and parts.Doubtful In the 2000s, a band can record an album using a USB mic and a high-end laptop with a digital recording software such as Garageband and then sell digital copies online through the band's website. In the 2000s, a symphony composer can prepare a professional-level score and parts herself using digital score-writing software such as Finale.

There are several problems:

  1. You can't create professional level recordings in a bedroom with a USB mike -- you need to either (1) be a great engineer and producer, or (2) hire a great engineer and producer. E.g., to make a recording with a great "pocket", you need someone who knows how to tweak the kick drum until it makes the listener's head move. This is not something that GarageBand can do automatically (at least, not yet). Top producer/engineers (think Dr. Dre or Steve Lillywhite) are highly paid because they can do things that no one else can do, and they are not available in the average bedroom. Recording isn't cheap, even with digital technology. Digital technology has replaced the 24 track Studor tape machine, but this was never the expensive part of recording. The expensive part is expertise.
  2. The average musician can't make a living selling recordings on your website. The only artists that I am aware of who can generate a comfortable income this way are artists who established themselves by other means, or semi-professional artists who rely on resources other than their music. You need real marketing, promotion and distribution if you expect to quit your day job. You need the iTunes store, a manager, a relationship with a people who know marketing, a relationship with radio promoters and pockets deep enough to pay all these people. You can do it without a record company, but in the real world, this is expensive. You still need someone to loan you the money.
  3. Recording artists (in the traditional system) needed to have a record deal before they went in the studio. Unless they're rich. The record company paid the (aforementioned) producer and engineer.
  4. A composer used to send his score to a copyist to get parts, not a publishing company. And yes, "copyist" is no longer a profession, because composer can now create the parts on the office printer and bring them into the studio. (But again, "copying" was not the hard part of writing, performing and recording a symphony -- this is not where most of the time or money is going.) The publishing company makes sure the composer gets paid if they're composition is used by anyone else, and nothing has changed there.

This is an article about the music industry, that is, people who make a living from music. This paragraph is wishful thinking, about a "future of music" that hasn't happened and isn't likely to happen any time soon. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 04:49, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Bad Math[edit]

Hi guys, the % change column of the total revenue by year table in the stats section makes absolutely no sense and is completely inaccurate from a year to year perspective. Going from $14.97 billion to $15 billion is not a 3.2% change, and decreasing from $18.8 billion to $18.4 billion is not an 8% decrease. I would change them immediately but I want to make sure that I haven't missed something completely. The odd part is that the sources agree with the stated percentages while also agreeing with the stated revenues. I'm very confused, but I think the hard revenue numbers hold more weight year to year, so I'll adjust the percentages to match later unless anyone has any objections. (talk) 00:46, 9 August 2016 (UTC)