Rolling Stone has put together an interesting article about the ongoing evolution of the music industry and how musicians are coping with the increasingly big changes brought on by technology. The most striking thing about the article is what is says about how even established acts have been forced to adapt:
In a business hobbled by recession and declining CD revenue, few of those rules apply anymore – in ways that can be both encouraging and demoralizing. To compensate for the fall-off in record sales, musicians are touring for longer stretches and are being forced to cobble together a living by any means necessary, from licensing songs to any TV show or video game that will have them to asking fans to contribute to their recording costs.
The article looks at how bands are recording for far less than they used to, album advances are declining significantly and options like Kickstarter and direct distribution are becoming viable alternatives to labels. At the same time, it notes that services like Spotify and Pandora are not producing much in the way of financial benefits for bands:
Typical digital-streaming royalty checks are minimal. You'll get a check for $100 in six months. You have to sell a thousand copies to equal a few cents. As a user, I like Spotify. But as a business, I don't think it's going to be profitable for an artist. It wouldn't even buy coffee for the whole band.
Check it out here.