thisguy's take on the music industry
there's so much more to it, besides fan buys album, money goes to rock band. as you can imagine, there's a whole multitude of middle men, working in between the various sources of revenue from music sales (eg: online music downloads, over the counter sales, royalties from clubs, supermarkets, movie soundtracks etc.).
it's like an entire ecosystem with an inbuilt political structure. the roles of some middle men agents often overlap and everyone's going after that small pile of dosh you pay for that CD. but the middle men are crucial to the survival of an organised, civilised music industry, where artistes can just concentrate on making music and not die hungry.
at this point you can question how piracy fits into this ecosystem. it doesn't. although it's not at a point where the entire house of cards could come falling down, piracy is still eating into the structure of it all.
because of improving technology and inflating prices of music, music piracy is unlikely to go down. what the industry is hoping is, with cheaper legal music portals like itunes, music enthusiasts will have the option of doing the right thing. it seems to be working, but itune downloads volume will probably never exceed that of free download sites.
the music industry is changing because of this. ask anyone, Artist and Repertoire people aren't interested in new acts at all. it's likely that veteran independent artistes could become safer investments for big labels rather than riskier manufactured acts with low shelf life.
i see the changing tides of the music industry as a good thing, not just because i'm averse to bubblegum pop acts, but because things will be as it should be. music should not be held at a ransom. it's basic economics. high supply and high demand goods should never be sold at high prices. so what if the artistes won't be able to afford new heated pools for their cribs? so what if big labels can't afford private jets?
i believe, as many established artistes do as well, that artistes should get rich, but not from profitshare from music sales or bonuses from record companies (which come from music sale profits). instead of overpricing cheap plastic, artistes who deserve to get rich, can do so from tours and endorsement deals from companies (like nike, pepsi etc.).
the truth is, piracy, although greatly hurting the music industry, isn't killing the music. giant music labels are forced to undergo much needed liposuctions but that might actually lead to less crappy music being put out. independent artistes making less commercial music will be forced to work much harder before getting record deals but theoretically, this isn't anything new.
so what can you do for the music?
if you're an artiste, work hard, postpone down payments for that pool till you've well and truly earned it. be kinder to your fans and behave responsibly so you can move on to getting endorsement deals.
if you're going into the behind the scenes work in music business, it's going to be tough. you'll never see the glory days of yore and huge expensive parties will become rarer. you'll need to really fight for each new act you sign on, but if you love the music, you'll be happy with the money you make.
if you're a music fan, by all means don't feel too guilty about that kazaa download, but do your part by supporting the music you love in some way. if you can afford it, buy albums. request songs/videos on the radio/tv. this really helps artistes a whole lot more than just cd sales. keep talking about their music- that helps breed fans for the artistes. as long as you're doing some of this, you're keeping the music alive.