What’s Gonna Happen: Part 2!

“…spending on CDs by people who had no computer (and were therefore unlikely to download and use BitTorrent) dropped by over 40 percent from 1999 through 2004” – A 2004 US Consumer Expenditure Survey cited in Ars Technica

In one of my previous blogs I was saying (off the top of my head…without ANY authority mind you) that downloading habits ‘may’ have inspired the pop music…and the amateur celebrity culture…of today.

I find this statement to be incredibly fascinating, especially since we know sales have gone down even further since 2004, but even back then people who had no easy access to the scourge that is P2P had stopped buying CDs

As a counter to my ‘What’s Gonna Happen?‘ blog (good job Roo, counter yourself, you hippity-hopping flip-flopper!) I’d like to note that part of my message (…and the message of MANY blogs before that) ‘was’ positive even if it was lost in my ‘We’re All Gonna Die!’ tone…

…the ‘record’ industry is in the crapper…and how we access, get, purchase, consume, or ‘whatever’ our music is changing…

…but the MUSIC industry is doing just fine!!! Musicians are weeds popping up everywhere, writing music about everything!  Musicians are always going to exist…my fear was more about people making a living off music, and how the downward turn could deter some great musicians from ever getting the chance.

We can be all utopian and say that the TRUE artistes (please pronounce that as ‘are-teests’) will battle through and suffer starvation and misery to pursue their craft.  They will.  And musicians will write songs as a hobby and put it on YouTube, or tour on weekends, or use their day jobs time-off to work on their next album.

Everyone will find a way…

I just think it’s a valuable idea that those interested in music and musicians keep coming up with creative ways to allow artists to live off their craft, and devote time to their creations.

A musician gave a talk at my school about a year ago and said that his time is generally spent 80% on business, and 20% on music, and that was a very liberal guess…it was probably closer to 90% business, 5% music, and 5% crying because he’s so hungry.

Even 80/20 sounds good to me, so long as the 80 isn’t being wasted trying to find revenue streams that people aren’t interested in paying for.

‘Some’ will be able to make a living through touring, merchandise sales, self-marketing on social media and selling their own CDs, physical or digital.

‘Most’ will have to find another way.

I’d just hope that people consider the ‘Most’ instead of the ‘Some’ when they think about the direction a career in music is going.  Not everyone is Radiohead…not everyone has a history and career before they start selling their albums ‘pay what you can.’  Not everyone is k-os, who can do the same with a live show.

The band you haven’t heard of, who wants you to hear them, and would like to make a few bucks off you if you like them…they’re the one’s I’m talking about.

So yah, enough waxing poetic or whatnot…I’m gonna turn my attention to finding those clever ways, talking about actual MUSIC rather than the theory behind making money at it, being upbeat and happy and blissfully dumbdumb, and hopefully entertaining the pants off you all…

…and I do mean that…

…the pants…

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3 Responses to “What’s Gonna Happen: Part 2!”

  1. Rob Says:

    Great job!

    I am still one of those guys that pays for my music. I probably buy less music then I did when I was 16 or so, but, I still buy alot.

    My biggest pet peeve is the lack of ‘new’ music on the radio. In the Guelph area, there are little choices for new-to-me music. I sure won’t find it on KoolFM, MagicFM, etc…
    Though I should say that the radio station at Conestoga College has introduced me to a few new artist.

    I’ve tried to nose-around on Last-FM and Bandcamp, but I am forever feeling lost and over whelmed.

    Woe is me 😦

  2. Mike Says:

    “spending on CDs by people who had no computer (and were therefore unlikely to download and use BitTorrent) dropped by over 40 percent from 1999 through 2004.”

    Something about this statement strikes me as really wrong, like there’s a fact the author overlooked or omitted, and so has connected A to C without going through B.

    My guess is that this statistic may not control for some or all of the following variables:
    * Fewer people were computer-less in 2004 than in 1999 (decrease in sample population)
    * People who do not own computers may be also be more likely not to purchase CDs (covariance)
    * Older people born before 1960 may be less likely to purchase computers and/or CDs, but this demographic cohort is shrinking due to natural decrease (i.e. death).
    * And so on… (OK, OK, I had them in my head, but forgot them as I was typing…)

    Let’s say:
    100 total people in 1999
    * 25 have computers and acquire music digitally
    * 25 have computers and purchase CDs
    * 25 do not have computers and purchase CDs
    * 25 do not have computers and do not purchase music.

    Let’s also say that the latter group is mostly older people, and that each person buys one unit of music.

    In 1999, 25 units of music were digitally acquired, and 50 units of CDs were purchased, a total of 75 units.

    Five years later in 2004, 12 of the old people have died and have been replaced by 12 young people who have computers and acquire music digitally. Also, 12 people who did not have computers have acquired computers and switched to acquiring music digitally.

    In 2004:
    * 49 have computers and acquire music digitally
    * 25 have computers and purchase CDs
    * 13 do not have computers and purchase CDs
    * 13 do not have computers and do not purchase music.

    In 1999, 49 units of music were digitally acquired, and 37 units of CDs were purchased, a total of 87 units.

    OMIGOSH, CD sales have decreased 25%! (But the number of units increased by 16%.

    But, when controlling for all other variables, there were 13 people in both 1999 and 2004 that did not own computers and purchased CDs, and there were 13 CDs sold to them in both years, a change of 0%.

    This is why I have my suspicions about the statistic you quoted.

    • Roo Says:

      I guess that makes sense. After reading this and seeking some other info I’ve given myself a bit more ‘basic education’ on how statistics work. I appreciate your passion for statistics 😉 Keep on me whenever I venture outside of my knowledge-base…when it comes to mathematics, I usually trust a number I hear so long as it comes from a source I consider trustworthy. I guess I should have dug a touch deeper.

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