Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Music Industry in the Next Decade

A lot has happened in the past decade in the music industry. The invention of the Ipod and digital music in general has changed how we listen to, interact with and purchase music. Prior to attending a wedding last year, I got to pick the songs I wanted to hear at the reception by choosing the songs off the couple's web site. The reception music was an Ipod on a table with a few appropriate lists for the different stages of the evening (dinner, dancing, etc). So, no crappy band and no Bob Seger's Old Time Rock N' Roll ... just big speakers and a personal experience put together by the couple. It was pretty cool.

You really have to wonder what comes next. The Copyright Act of 1978 could be the first big event in the music industry this decade. Due to this act 2011 marks the first year that a lot of artists can renegotiate their deals with record companies. If artists sold their copyrights in 1976 or later, they will get to revisit these deals 35 years after the date of the deal. So expect a lot of box sets or greatest hits releases by bands like The Eagles or The Doobie Brothers in the coming years. With ownership changing hands, expect the new owners to cash in on their success as soon as possible. I like this. If I bought The Eagles box set, I'd much rather the money go to Don Henley or Joe Walsh than some business exec that had nothing to do with its creation.

I also don't mind if this means that the big record companies go under. This is in the same vein that I find it to be a victory if a Starbucks goes under due to a thriving local coffee shop. Right now, a lot of record companies are being kept alive by their back catalogue. I see no reason why these old dinosaurs shouldn't die off and be replaced by a more adaptable indie genius or two. I grew up in the 1980's. After dealing with the crap that these record companies put out in that era, the death of the big time record label would be welcomed.

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