The Los Angeles Times has posted a lengthy article looking at the state of the music industry, alternate sources of music such as Appleis iTunes Music Store, and the shift in control from big music companies to the consumer.
The story stemmed from the LA Times authoris visit to the Santa Monica, California Apple Store with its large mobile hanging in the front window displaying the album covers of many eclectic bands such as The Who, Marvin Gaye, and even 50 Cent. The article goes on to look at the history and future of downloadable music, and emerging trends in music, such as the iPod and other digital music players. From the Los Angeles Times:
In a music world in upheaval, iTunes, with its paid downloads of music, is the closest thing to an interim government in the lawless land created by Napster and its revolutionary ilk, and while its future is uncertain there is no denying that the real estate on Third Street in Santa Monica is a foothold in a brash new world.
The sunny visions of those Apple commercials are hard to reconcile with the gloom and doom that have been pervasive in the music industry in recent years. The grim chorus is now as familiar to the public as any Top 40 hit: Piracy has gutted profits, CD sales are going steadily south for the first time since the format was introduced in the 1980s, corporate conglomeration has stultified any art in the commerce of record labels, radio and the concert business.
Be it the iPod (the popular Apple portable digital player), alluring satellite radio services such as XM, the fan-beloved minutiae posted on Web sites, the availability of live music performances on AOL, the esoteric music videos streaming off Launch.com or the self-tailored satisfaction of burning a homemade mix on CD at home, there is a singular zest to the modern fan experience today.
All that has been flummoxing to the formal music industry, which has little control or obvious major profit source in any of the above. Mainly because, in the past five years, the experience of being a music consumer has been increasingly determined by that consumer, not the artist or the industry.
You can read much more of the very interesting and informative article at the Los Angeles Timesi Web site, and we recommend it as a good read.