Why Isn’t the Record Business Doing Better?

We’ve been hearing about the decline of the record business for about fifteen years now. But with more people than ever consuming music in a variety of different ways, why aren’t things better by now?  Billboard takes a look.

By some measures, recorded music is doing great. Overall music volume (counting sales and streaming) is up 14 percent to date in 2015, Nielsen’s David Bakula said Tuesday at the Music Biz conference in Nashville. Streaming alone is up 91 percent year-over-year.

But as the RIAA’s Josh Friedlander noted, the record industry has been flat at about $7 billion for five straight years. Wholesale revenue has actually risen slightly. The IFPI puts the 2014 trade value at $4.9 billion, up from $4.5 billion in 2010.

This disconnect between engagement and revenue sums up the mood at this year’s Music Biz conference. People see potential. They can see a bright future — but they’re not sure exactly how to get there.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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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