The Economist has an in-depth article this week about how the music industry is changing. For the past ten years sales of recorded music have declined steeply, and the rise in digital music-sales is scant compensation. But the article continues:
Yet the music business is surprisingly healthy, and becoming more so. Will Page of PRS for Music, which collects royalties on behalf of writers and publishers, has added up the entire British music business. He reckons it turned over £3.9 billion ($6.1 billion) in 2009, 5% more than in 2008. It was the second consecutive year of growth. Much of the money bypassed the record companies. But even they managed to pull in £1.1 billion last year, up 2% from 2008.
A surprising number of things are making money for artists and music firms, and others show great promise. The music business is not dying. But it is changing profoundly.
The longest, loudest boom is in live music. Between 1999 and 2009 concert-ticket sales in America tripled in value, from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion (see chart 1).
Rising income from live performance, merchandising, sponsorship, publishing, online streaming and emerging markets has come to counterbalance losses from declining CD sales. As a result, some musicians are singing a different tune. Last year a new group, the Featured Artists Coalition, objected to government plans to punish file-sharers by suspending their broadband connections. Its leaders, including established artists such as Billy Bragg and Annie Lennox, argue that file-sharing is a useful form of promotion. But not everybody agrees.
Read more in The Economist.
Also read the article by Torrentfreak on the recent study of the Norwegian music market, which comes to similar conclusions: Artists make more money in the file sharing age than before it.