Global recorded music sales shrank by 7.2%, from $18.3 billion to $17 billion, through 2009.
What this means is the industry has been sale decline each year since 1999.
Digital sales grew 9.2 percent and now make up over a quarter of all music income…
But the extra $363 million brought in by digital last year still wasn’t even close to offsetting $1.74 billion lost from physical sales.
Source: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Recording Industry In Numbers report.
What to do?
Well our tonic to improve the health of the music sector would be the following:
1. Understand buyers better - who they are and what they buy. This basic knowledge is critical (but still largely absent).
2. Build greater sense of community around listening types. Last FM etc has proven people are drawn together by shared musical taste. Build communities around taste and market to them
3. Recognise and actively reward the few who pay for digital music. Continue to chase out the illegals but not at expense of the legals.
4. Dont be afraid of useage rather than ownership model pushed by players like Spotify and Beyond Oblivion and recognise its better to get small payment from everybody than as currently a large payment from a few.
6. Love the talent. Without it there is no industry!
7. Don't be afraid to go digital retail only. Saves on production, distribution, sales commission and critically stock risk.
8. Merchandising. Hugely under leveraged by the industry and worth a fortune. Recognise that recorded music powers broad and valuable consumer lifestyle habits. Get in on the act directly.