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"Running to Stand Still : Change and the Music Industry "and DJ Beatsmith Presents

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posted on 2023-08-03, 12:15 authored by Cliff Gallagher

Those who bemoan the collapse of the music industry are misinformed. As the Economist poetically puts it, “The music business is not dying. But it is changing profoundly,” (“Having”). The music industry, and specifically the recording industry, has always gone through changes. However, the end goal was always to sell records. As Paula Swatman and others write in Internet Research, “The history of the traditional music market is essentially aligned with that of the recording industry more generally,” (“The Changing”). In his book The Future of the Music Business, author Steven Gordon implicitly refers to the importance of record sales in the old music industry model when he writes, “…superstars…were selling tens of millions of records. An album may take a million dollars to produce and a couple more million to market and promote. But if a record sold, for example, at $7 dollars wholesale, the payoff for a successful album was spectacularly lucrative,” (84). He continues on to note how in the late 1980’s, record sales at CBS records exceeded $2.5 billion (84). While neither author explicitly states that album sales accounted for most of the profit garnered by the music industry, I believe that a reasonable person can infer this to be the case from these two examples and practical experience.



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