Oh How The Music Business Keeps Changing

Let me start out with some sobering thoughts.

95% of music downloads are illegal downloads and are not paid for. (Funny, I thought most of us in the music business wanted to make money from whatever audio or music business profession we chose to get involved with) Well, there is some hope on the horizon. Internationally, 2008 saw a 25% growth in legal downloads for a dollar total of $3.7 billion dollars! We shall see what 2009 has to report in a matter of a few months from now.

Digital platforms on the Internet that sell legal downloads have increased online and through mobile devices as a new generation of music subscription services, social networking sites and new music licensing channels are emerging. In 2008 digital platforms accounted for 20% of recorded music sales, up from 15% in 2007!

The music industry continues to change dramatically, but how will you make money from your music, as the industry shifts from a "sales-to-a-customer" model to "monetizing" access to music across a multitude of channels and platforms?

CD sales, as of 2008, are still the number one way record labels make their money, but the writing is on the wall that the future is now for you to implement this new "access" approach to making money from your music.

Some researchers and experts on the subject of selling music predict that by 2012 the shift from CD sales dominating the labels revenue to other approaches already mentioned will take place.

Music is no longer about a pre-prepared set of songs released on a CD by a artist or band but it is a growing business of customers selecting from a wide catalog of individual songs, like on iTunes or eMusic.

So, many artists will be moving away from their ingrained habit of coming up with 10 to 15 songs to record a traditional 'album' and moving toward creating compositions released individually, and finding more 'uses' for their music in the marketplace, like: song placements in films, television and placed on the Internet, as well as used in commercials and even selling sheet music copies of their compositions. Also look more for bands and recording artists to offer individual song downloads from their growing catalog of material available on their own websites, and the many social networking sites that will act as distributors of music.

Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.

Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.

He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".

Christopher Knab