Video killed the radio star? No, you can thank iTunes for that. A recent CNNMoney article (link below) outlines exactly how since their start, iTunes, although increasing the number of music sale transactions, has exponentially decreased the profits from sales in the music industry. Apple’s iTunes music Store debuted on April 28, 2003, introducing things like the 99 cent single. Before the wild fire that is iTunes, the music industry was able to make profit off of the sales of full records, which were sold for $10+ each. the introduction of the single made it impossible for artists and labels to make the same money they were making on full albums. Who is to say that just because someone likes one song on an album they are going to buy more? In fact, the single made it so more and more people were just buying one or two songs off of a record, as opposed to purchasing a whole album. THIS is what was decreasing the sales. People are paying only spending half of the money (at most) if they REALLY like an album.
Since the start of the single being sold, album sales have drastically decreased. The amount of singles sold by iTunes alone made up 63% of music sales last year. If iTunes, alone, can be responsible for so many sales, one has to wonder who is making up the rest of the sales? The answer is companies like Amazon and Rhapsody. Big powerhouses like Amazon are trying to get involved with everything on the internet, so clearly music sales would be a target. Although they may not seem to be posing a threat to iTunes right now, it is only a matter of time before Apple has trouble keeping up with the newcomers in the industry, such as Amazon. Even though they technically are responsible for the sale of singles and its business model, industries are known for changing drastically, especially ones involving media. The reason that they were able to start up and hit the ground running in such a successful way with iTunes is that they had the iPod to go with it. Even if other companies were able to come up with the software to sell singles, they would still have to come up with some sort of device to play all of those singles on. The iPod was really the key to all of this.
This transition into the sale of singles hit the music industry pretty hard. Since its start in 2003, not only has the music changed, but also the industry. Now, record labels are trying to get whatever they can out of the artists, and artists are so desperate to get their music on iTunes, that they are willing to sign a contract giving them very little compensation for their work. However, it has allowed for the introduction of many other artists into the music world, regardless of how big their fan base is. Almost anyone can get their music on iTunes now, making the game of the industry much more fair.
Although the single may have dropped the profit of big name labels and artists will have to depend on the money from touring and endorsements now, it has also done a lot for the music itself.New artists have been introduced and more music is circulating than ever before. It is safe to say that if the single was introduced 30 years ago as opposed to 10 years ago, it would definitely be just as popular and commonly used.
Link to article: http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/25/technology/itunes-music-decline/index.html
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