Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Music to my ears

(By Richard Holway 4.00pm 21st Jul 09) The music industry has done far too much bleating recently. Their wonderful, cosy model for decades selling records and, before that, sheet music, has changed for ever. Their response has been to sue their customers over illegal downloads. Not that I condone that (of course...) but I seem to remember doing it myself with my tape recorder 50 years ago.

At a lecture some years ago I noted that I had paid £150 a ticket to see the Rolling Stones at Wembley. I noted that they could have afforded to give away all their CDs for that! I also remember (indeed still have) the T-shirts and baseball hats we bought at highly inflated prices as souvenirs.

PRS for Music – the body that collects royalty payments for musicians in the UK – has just published their annual report. (See The Times - UK acts punch above their weight on the world stage) Sure, the revenues from recorded music shank by 6%. But overall, their revenues were up 5% at £3.6b. (That’s about the size of the UK application software market…)


1 – The live music sector grew by an impressive 13% to £1.4b. Even more impressive considering we are in a deep recession!

2 – Revenues from advertising, licensing and sponsorship grew by 10% to £925m

3 – Web licensing revenues (eg to Spotify) were up 7%

I cannot think of a better example of a changing model where, in the end, everyone gains. I do wish the music industry would accept that free music is here to stay. It is a marketing channel - just like UKHotViews! The real money is to be made elsewhere. Ie from advertising, presentations, consulting and subscriptions.

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