This article was intended for a different platform and was written some time ago. I still see the things as I express in the following word, but there are some new considerations I have added in the time I did the first draft to this final. I will try to put in some closing notes to clarify myself. Otherwise I will leave the post in the original words.

26022012 001

Having a 16 year old son that wants to find his way in the music industry has made give many things in this world a great deal of thought. Once upon a time I also dream on becoming a musician, and make a living with my money. Since it was a dream I dreamt about making lots of money, fame and becoming a rock star. Truth is that things have changed a bit since those days, not just simple changes on genre or music styles, there is more competence, the market is different, the business is different, and basically nothing is the same.


In the 80s and 90s we consumed much less music than we do now, but we purchased more than now, not only in the amount of records but the budget that we had then for buying music was bigger than todays. So! ¿what has happened? The simple answer to this is that we have changed the way in which we consume music. The thing is that thou the consumers have moved their way of listening and interacting with music, the industry has tried with no result to remain in the same corner as 20 years ago. In the era of the vinyl records we would purchase 2 or 3 singles as they were released and finally the album that ended up including them. Technology moved along to the cassette tapes and singles where not that prominent but we still purchased the cassette. When the CD Rom appeared we all moved along, I have some albums in all 3 formats. We can now listen to music on an ever-growing array of devices, this has brought with it a liberation of where, we listen, how we listen and when we listen to music. The evolution of technology has introduce hole new culture of music consumption, we no longer have to be static net to the record player or limited in our mobility by Walkman’s or Discman’s we all know where we can engage with music and with what ease. Music is not just hobby it has become the background sound track to our everyday activity. To the extent that younger generations take it for granted that music is present 24/7. What this new scenario were music is universal due to the unlimited access provided by the new and wider available technology platforms available, has provoked is that the old ways we obtained the music has become obsolete.

discman walkman

However the market or better said the industry has not been as fast at evolving. If we review the way vinyl records were sold and how CDs or DVDs are sold today there is no substantial change. The chain top to bottom has maintained its original form and players, maybe some minor changes have been introduced to improve processes but the core is the same. The major driver is that the stake holders have the same interest and roles and these are anchored to the past, this immobility of these historically accepted archetypes, is a net that has too much to lose. By looking at how has what to lose we can easily point out what is wrong in the current business model and the whole industry.


The Label or record company have been and still are a necessary stake holder. But their role needs to be reconsidered. They were the music Maecenas, to record an album or a song and to commercialize it was a very expensive venture, they would put the money up front to accomplish the project, you could say that they are like venture capitalist that invest in a musical project, the main difference being that the investment is the first to be deducted from any income from sales, plus they normally take the biggest chunk from the profits. The distribution chain is an endless stream of middle player whose only mission is to take the product from point A to point B being point B the commercial outlets something that is in great disuse now a days, places were consumers can pick-up physical copies in CD ore DVD, where big department stores sell the majority, leavening small and specialized musical stores out of business.

I will continue next week with part two of this article.

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Thanks for reading

Ian Burt © 2012

  1. […] Business in Music part 1 of 2 ( […]

  2. Discman says:


    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue – The Present From Walkman to iPod. I like all of the points you’ve made….

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