Here is an interesting article that recently ran on Billboard's website, where Jack Isquith encourages the music industry to look to the NFL for inspiration to reinvent itself.
My gut says that along the way he ignored a few differences between selling a football game and a musical album. First, football games, as live events, are more comparable to live concerts than sales of songs. As far as I understand, while ticket sales for concerts are not great, they have not yet suffered the same declines as album sales.
Isquith points to video games, specifically the Madden football series, as a way that the NFL has embraced change in a profitable manor (I still haven't seen a copy of "Songwriter, Songwriter Revolution"). It seems probable, however, that as technology progresses, a video game will be shared just as easily as an mp3. When EA Sports' sales decrease in the same way a record label's has, they'll be sitting in this same boat.
Also, I don't believe the answer is only finding more big music stars, as the article states. In the current situation, a more popular artist or band who has more fans will only result in more tracks being downloaded for free. It's becoming the frightening norm for people to expect content to be free.
This is an awkward time for people trying to make money with art that can be copied and pasted. We have to trust that things will get better so that we don't change the heart behind our creativity.
Maybe this is an opportunity to take another look at why we write songs. Is it to get money? Fame? Respect? Some may decide that the tough current landscape of this industry is too big a mountain to climb, but others will stay. And I believe the ones who stick around, and they art they create, will last because there is a love and passion for music that goes way deeper than money, fame or respect. It may just mean working a side job to pay the bills in the meantime.
Why do you write songs?
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