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Old 21st May 2020
  #41
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Great thread, with a lot of home truths about today's music 'industry' such as it is.

However, I think the wider problem is more fundamental than any of these valid commercial considerations because the reality nowadays is that people aren't listening to music anymore!

That's a sweeping generalisation, which I am generally (see what I did there) allergic to, so let me qualify what I'm saying.

Of course we've got the tweeny-bopper market which is huge and lucrative and dependent on a whole bunch of factors that have nothing to do with music per se.

Then there's folks like us on these kinds of Forums who have a genuine and passionate interest in music - listening to it, how it's produced, sharing it recording it.

And finally there's the large but dwindling high-end classical music market - mostly retired folks with deep pockets who go to the opera and own large, expensive Hi-Fi systems.

The problem is the 20-45 market, which used to be a huge driver of the industry and is no longer. Folks in this consumer bracket are not going round to each other's houses and discussing their Spotify playlists, in the same way that the generation before would do with that now wholly out-dated concept... albums. That means there is zero revenue generating momentum from word of mouth, peer group etc in this huge demographic.

These folks - or at least the dedicated ones - are going to Festivals; that is where they get there annual musical 'fix' and gives them enough to talk about with their friends for the following year until the next round of festivals.

But in their hugely pressured household budgets (and a brief survey of property prices in the last 30 years will show the key to this) there is no room for actually buying music, and less time to really listen to it anyway (how many times per hour does the average 30-year old get a notification on their phone that requires action?), so thus music becomes a sort of low-level background thing. Like traffic noise. And no one's going to buy traffic noise. Or talk excitedly with their friends about newly released traffic noise.

Summary: the elephant in the room is the size of the music-buying market; it's a tiny fraction of what it was 40 years ago.