Sheet Music? Not a Good Business to Be In

A hundred years ago when the concept of recorded music was still science fiction to a lot of people, sheet music–printed arrangments of popular and classical tunes–ruled.  That industry was analogous to what we later saw with the recorded music business.

Over the decades, though, fewer and fewer people (outside of those taking music lessons) bothered with sheet music.  The peak of the market was 1934 when 25,000 pieces were sold every day.  It’s been downhill ever since.

Today, a best-seller might mean 500 copies a year.  It’s just a matter of time before sheet music dies completely. 

The Wall Street Journal had a nice feature on the subject.  Give it a read here.

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.

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