Sometimes, you catch people singing the blues when they really should be doing the merengue. Preliminary sales figures for the music industry were released last Friday, and they told us a few things we already knew, and some others we could only suspect.
In the first category, digital downloads seem to be growing more popular, according to industry figures. Fourteen million digital albums and 280 million single tracks were downloaded in the first half of 2006, compared with 6.5 million albums and 159 million singles sold in the year-ago period. The combined digital market share, assuming 12 songs on the average album for both digital and physical media, rose from 7.2% last year to 12.1% this time, a roaring 68% leap forward.
In addition, it seems that the telltale white earbuds of Apple's
The not-so-obvious? Well, some people are complaining about falling CD sales and the impending death of the music industry as a whole. That might be true for businesses such as Trans World Entertainment
I'm willing to bet that executives at Vivendi
Word on the street has it that $0.07 out of every $0.99 iTunes download makes it into Apple's coffers. The rest is handed over to the labels, which pass on some paltry sum to the artists and writers who haven't yet learned to negotiate decent online rights to their work. The difference is pure profit. No CDs to press, ship, store, or stock. And before you bring up marketing costs, a lot of that is taken out of the artists' pockets. No joke.
The studios stand to lose a few of their old product-pushing distributors, but they're getting brand-new digital ones instead. If you catch the music labels complaining about the way music sales are going, mark it down to a fear of change. The future is digital, it's almost here -- and there's no need to be afraid of it. At worst, it's time to learn a few new steps. A-one, and a-two ...
Listen up, Fool:
- DRM might be the only trouble with digital music.
- I'm not the first Fool to note this dirty little secret.
- There might be some consolidation going on in the industry.
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