Do you take McCartney with your espresso?
Both Variety and Reuters reported on Starbucks signing a record deal with Sir Paul McCartney. A coffee shop publishing cds. In a time of declining cd sales. And it can be quite succesful. In the Netherlands, drugstore "Kruidvat" recorded all the works by J.S. Bach in 2000 (Yep, I bought all 184 of them...) and it was a big succes: over 10 million cd's sold worldwide. Deals like this, things like Napster, iTunes, etc. make it clear that the entire music industry is changing. Changing fast. The traditional outlets are losing market share very fast. As the succes of the Bach edition (and later Mozart edition) show, there is still a large market for traditional cd's. So why moan? Well, I think there's a darker side to it as well...
... as prices for these cd's are very low. So there has to be a very high volume to make recording and producing these cd's worthwhile. Therefore, stores like Kruidvat and Starbucks will only go for the big sellers, the all-time favorites so to speak. They won't invest in new talent of course. No money to be made. Does this mean I'm suggesting that this is bad? No. The music industry as it was, was already going largely in the same direction. More about marketing than music (do I need to mention Britney Spears?) anyway. New bands are finding new channels to bring their music to the attention of the audience. Take MySpace for example: my "Friends list" contains bands, ensembles and other artists from all kinds of musical directions (and Stephen Hawking). All bringing their music to the attention of whoever cares to listen. I've heard some amazing music there! (And restricted my "MySpace-time"....)
So the music world is changing and I'm enjoying the change! I'm looking forward to hearing new music from all over the world. The internet has made this possible, and thus far is a good thing. Yes, there are still some things to be sorted out. And piracy is a problem. But it used to be so in the cassette-era as well... All in all I thing it's a very interesting time to be a musician!
[Related post: Changing music distribution, part 2]