Piracy common but people still paying for music07 Oct 11 07:00AM EST |
Music has been a gift of choice for consumers for some time. Throughout the 20th century, new technology continually changed the face of the industry, from the gramophone to the LP record, cassette tape, CD and eventually – digital. The last trend could be the most influential factor to hit the music industry in the last hundred years, and it has at least set the tone for the start of this century.
That’s not to say that traditional mediums are forgotten. Despite the declining sales, in 2010 people still flocked to traditional formats (like CDs and vinyl) to the tune of $279.5 million according to the Australian Recording Industry Association. Although, these days, you’re just as likely to receive an iTunes voucher in your stocking as opposed to a CD.
It’s a widely-held view that record companies were caught flat footed, and if you believe some of the hype, the figures could only spell the death of the industry.
Luckily, despite the declines in overall revenue, it’s not all doom and gloom. After all, not everybody who pirates a song was going to go out and buy a CD, which is a factor sometimes missed in music industry projections.
It appears consumers don’t mind paying for their music, albeit in different ways. It just takes innovation from companies in a market undergoing what some would call a correction.
Spotify is one of those innovative companies and has become well known for bucking the piracy trend. Although not all record labels or musicians feel the format is fair, the figures show that the music streaming website has reduced piracy in Sweden (the same country where piracy websites gained their foothold) by a reported 25%. The website operates for free if you don’t mind ads, or users can pay a fee to avoid them.
Unfortunately, it’s not available in Australia yet, although the company has noted the interest “Down Under”. Meanwhile, digital sales on iTunes and other services continue to rise, and so does revenue from live performances. A recent report from Live Performance Australia indicates revenue grew 22.6% to a total $1.3 billion in 2010.
Considering tickets to popular festivals, such as Big Day Out, now cost above and beyond $150 a piece, it’s clear that consumers don’t mind dishing out the dough to see their favourite acts live.
There’s no doubt the industry is changing, but given the right opportunities, figures show consumers don’t mind paying for quality music products and live performances. Will people continue to pay for music given the right price, or has piracy taken over?