Clearing out my inbox
Years ago I used to work for a guy who would call me and another manager into his office everyday after lunch for a meeting. As we’d sit there waiting to hear the agenda, he’d go through the inbox on his desk, open each envelope and either read it out loud for discussion or toss it to one of us so we could deal with it later. End of meeting. He was usually out the door and on his way home by three.
I thought of him this morning as I went through my email and found a few things I wanted to share with you. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m blogging here, disseminating the news, blowin’ hot air or doing a form of self-therapy. Probably all of the above.
Last week in San Diego the once strong and mighty trade organization for record stores and music distributors (NARM) held their annual convention and it was a fairly weak turnout compared to previous years. There were sparsely attended panel discussions on the state of the industry, late night new artist showcases attended by only a couple dozen folks and although I mean no disrespect…the award for “Sustained Creative Achievement” went to Hall and Oates. It’s so fitting that they honored the band that scored so big with “Out of Touch”.
Anyway….yesterday in my inbox from the Nielsen folks came their annual review of music sales. Not to bore you with statistical analysis that few outside of myself seem to enjoy, here are a few things you might want to chew on:
-Last year there were a staggering 105,000 new full-length albums released (although “new” includes re-issues) and nearly 50,000 of those went to digital-only format. (With the average record store stocking about 5,000 titles including both the old and new…you gotta wonder where most of those new titles ended up.)
-Of those 105,000 new titles, only a small number (950 to be exact) accounted for 82% of the sales.
-Back in 2001, 68% of all purchases were made at your basic traditional record store. Last year it slipped to just 39%. The majority of the sales are now going to non-traditional “stores” such as iTunes, and Amazon (which was named NARM’s Retailer of the Year), and places like Starbucks and Hot Topic.
Another email from yesterday has caught my attention. More than a few times of late I’ve expressed my opinion on the future of music delivery. It basically involves having digital media files stored on a big server in the sky and the consumer paying a fee to access it all. Money flows back to the content owners, composers and performers, and it’s legal for consumers.
Moving toward that direction, Britain’s Virgin Media cable TV company inked a deal with Universal Music Group (the world’s largest player) to allow both streaming and unlimited MP3 downloads for a monthly fee somewhere between $16-$24 per month. While this is still hard to compete with the free streaming services available and the illegal file sharing sites, it would appear to be another bridge that will help transform the old model to a newer one.
Finally….I received a blast email from Musician’s Friend the online musical instrument retailer. Instead of touting a new guitar or keyboard, this one was all about TuneCORE which was founded a few years ago by Jeff Price from spinART (the record label) and is a fee-based service available to any musician for easy entry into the world of digital delivery. This is no endorsement one way or another, but I found their website to offer a lot of great information for artists and if you’re interested, you can go find it on your own.