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Monday, December 28, 2009

11 Interesting Moments For The Music Industry In 2009


2009 was filled with numerous interesting moments for the music industry as Music 3.0 kicked into high gear. Here are some significant events from last year, in no particular order:

1) Social Media - 2009 became the year that everyone in the music business - from label execs to artists - realized the true value of social media and began to work it hard.

2) Twitter - This was the year that Twitter became a real force in the artist's social networking toolbox as artists large and small in stature reached out to their audiences. While acts like Coldplay and Pearl Jam kept it business-like, artists like John Mayer stayed personal enough to the point where you felt like you knew him. And Justin Bieber even caused a riot by an errant Tweet from his label.

3) Concert Attendance Takes A Hit - Long thought to be immune from financial downturns, attendance dropped everywhere in the concert business as even major artists played to less than sold-out audiences. Concert promoter LiveNation even offered "No Service Charge Wednesdays" and tickets for as low as $5 to get meat in the seats.

4) Virgin Music Closes - Even though they were still profitable, music retailer Virgin Music closed it's last 6 stores, discovering that the real estate was more valuable than the merchandise inside.

5) iTunes Variable Pricing - Apple acquiesces to the major labels and institutes 3 tiered pricing. Industry pundits battle, profit increases but sales drop. Who wins?

6) Box Sets Get Innovative - Major artists take Trent Reznor's lead and release box sets, with one more elaborate than the next. AC/DC even packages their merch inside a working amplifier (see side graphic).

7) Subscription Nears The Turning Point - With the subscription service Spotify gearing up to launch in the US in 2010, the industry gets the feeling that the public is finally ready to embrace subscription music. Is the feeling unfounded? We'll know shortly.

8) Apple Buys LaLa - In what may be a precursor to an iTunes subscription service, Apple purchases the hybrid service LaLa.

9) Music Games Slump - After dominating the game scene and becoming an unexpected income source to labels and artists alike, the music game business took a sales hit as new versions of Rock Band (even by The Beatles) and Guitar Hero struggled.

10) Secondary Ticketing Exposed - The long time practice of reselling held-back concert tickets through scalpers finally came to light, with major artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi (among others) taking big hits to their reputations. No wonder you can only get the best seats from scalpers.

11) CD Sales Come Back A Little - In December, CD sales come back like it's 2005 as multiple artists sell in the 100,000's per week. Susan Boyle comes out of nowhere to sell nearly 3 million in a month, closely followed by Andrea Bocelli.

It was an interesting year. Let's hope 2010 is just as interesting.

1 comment:

Wicked D said...

What about vinyl? Vinyl seemed to be the one physical product that continued to defy trends, sales up 33 percent in 2009. The Coalition of Independent music stores reported vinyl sales jumped 222% on Record Store Day! Then again, I'm old school.

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