Music Industry

A Must Read: Quantifying the Statement “There’s TOO MUCH MUSIC”

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember when having a hundred albums or CDs in your music collection made you a Big Deal.  That was plenty of music, enough to keep you occupied for weeks, months–maybe even forever.

Now, though, it’s different.  Even the smallest online repository–iTunes, any of the streaming music services–gives us access to tens of millions of songs.  This is creating a massive problem for music fans, artists, publishers, labels and anyone else connected with music.  There’s just too much freakin’ music out there–and no one is talking seriously about what this glut means for everyone.

Sure, a lot of it is crap by any measure.  But even if 90% is garbage, that still leaves millions of awesome tracks that may not ever get discovered.  Instead, all we hear about is the top 1% of 1%.
Consequence of Sound takes a look at this issue.  It has been thinking long and hard about the problem.

There’s an Elephant in the Music Room. You may not be able to see it, but it’s there.

A few people actually see the elephant; a few more can’t see it but have noticed that something incredibly huge is taking up a lot of space in the room; yet, most people haven’t even noticed that the room is getting smaller – or that there’s this humongous, pissed-off elephant just sitting there, scowling at them.

Oh. Nobody really wants to talk about it, either.

Instead, we hear about lots of divisive discussions between musicians, labels, tech start-ups, writers, bloggers, legislators, and music advocacy groups over issues like streaming royalty rates, copyright infringement, file sharing, fair use, declines in record sales and digital downloads, termination rights, pay-for-play, venues taking larger cuts out of touring bands’ payouts, legislation to force radio stations to pay their fair share for music use on-air, and so on…

But as those battle lines get further entrenched and fortified, the damned elephant just keeps getting bigger; and unless we all deal with this elephant – pretty quickly, too – none of those problems are going to matter.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38562 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “A Must Read: Quantifying the Statement “There’s TOO MUCH MUSIC”

  • I always assumed this was the actual reason for declining industry revenues.

    Modern technology has democratized the production and distribution of music, so the majors no longer have a stranglehold on the process, from band discovery through to getting the album onto consumers’ listening devices.

    Piracy has taken a chunk, but I think a major factor is that no one can realistically afford all the music out there and it’s overwhelmingly too hard to pick & choose the “right” albums. I still buy music, but I used to resort to downloading and checking albums out before investing in them. Technology and the industry has caught up though in that I haven’t actually “needed” to pirate an album for years as the vast majority are now available as streaming previews and/or on services like Rdio.


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