State of the Music Industry Part 3Posted By Musician Coaching on January 20th, 2010 shareshare18tweetsretweetI wasn�t really expecting a part three to this article but it seems there was quite a bit ofexcitement about the statistics that Tom Silverman had mentioned in the first part of thisinterview. Tom was kind enough to add more information.I will add only this � that of all of the people I know who did really well for themselves in the oldworld of music- Tom Silverman is one of the only executives I have met who actually reallycares about the future of the music business unrelated to getting a paycheck. Thanks again forthis Tom.Please check out the New Music Seminar in Los Angeles on February 1st and 2nd. Readers ofMusicianCoaching.com can get a two for one discount by going to www.newmusicseminar.biz.and entering the code �nmsla2�.Tom Silverman:In preparing for the February 2nd Los Angeles New Music Seminar, I wanted to learn moreabout how many new artists are breaking each year. After all, the New Music Seminar isdedicated to helping more new artists break.First we had to determine the definition of breaking. At the New Music Seminar we identify theobscurity line arbitrarily as 10,000 albums sold in the year of release. That is not a hardnumber, nor is it the only meter of success. 300 hard ticket sales for a headliner in multiplecities might be another definition. 25,000 paid single downloads might be another. I�m surethere are many more but 10,000 albums doesn�t sound as elusive as gold or platinum (thosearchaic arbiters of success) or even 50,000 which only a decade ago might have beenconsidered below the obscurity threshold. Looking at the 1517 albums that were released in2008 and sold more than 10,000 units in 2008 we find that only 225 of them were by artists thathad surpassed 10,000 for the first time in their career (either by themselves or with anotherband).The vast majority of these were released by significant indies (110) or majors (103). Last Friday,I thought that only 14 of those were self released artists or artists on start up labels. Furtherinspection disqualified two of them. One was a gospel record whose Bishop had exceeded10,000 in the past under a slightly different name and the other was a Soundscan placeholderfor a title distributed by Anderson Wholesale, the distributor for Walmart, that showed the title�TBD.� We had thought it was a Dutch electronic artist called Anderson but alas, nay.Who were these valiant artists? A quick inspections indicated that beyond Bon Iver, the realindie artist success story of 2008, there were three hip hop artists, one that had financing of $10a unit in marketing spend to sell under 30,000 units, another associated with the big indie hiphop powerhouse Tech N9ne and the last a gospel hip hop artist. The rest were largelyalternative rock artists, two had been contestants in America�s Got Talent or American Idoland a few others were on small labels with big budgets.
What does this say about the Chris Anderson �Long Tail� promise? Clearly the ease ofmaking and distributing music does not benefit �breaking� music. Breaking music requiresmass exposure which requires luck or money or both. I can say with great authority that lessnew music is breaking now in America than any other time in history. Technology has nothelped more great music rise to the top, it has inhibited it. I know this is a bold statement but it istrue.Perhaps the greatest challenge to all of the technologists that participate in the New MusicSeminar is to correct that issue so that great music can rise to its true potential regardless ofpolitics, power or money. I believe that the next decade will bring improvement to the music webthat allow that to happen. In the meantime, artists can still make a very good living withoutselling 10,000 albums by careful cultivation of their fan relationships. This is another theme ofthe New Music Seminar�redefining the music business around the artist/fan relationship�howto manage it�how to monetize it. Records are no longer currency in the next musicbusiness�fans are.Here�s the list of the 12 artists that sold over 10,000 albums in 2008 for the first time.Remember these are 12 albums out of 105,575 new album releases that year.BON IVERRecord Label: Jagjaguwar (US/CAN)Album: For Emma Forever Ago 103,112TMI BOYZRecord Label: TMI EntertainmentAlbum: Grindin� For a Purpose 29,119CAS HALEYRecord Label: CaptainHooks, also Big Karma Records, a �Texas start up label�Album: Cas Haley 22,580DUKE SPIRITRecord Label: SHANGRILAAlbum: Neptune 19,403EYES SET TO KILLRecord Label: BreakSilence RecordingsAlbum: Reach 16,133PROZAKRecord Label: Strange Music Inc./ DeadMan Productions Inc.Album: Tales From the Sick 14,929SLIGH*CHRISRecord Label: Brash Music
Album: Running Back To You 14,785REBEL SOULJAHZRecord Label: GO Aloha EntertainmentAlbum: Nothing To Hide 14,262BLIND PILOTRecord Label: Expunged Records,Album: 3 Rounds & A Sound 11,281MORNING BENDERSRecord Label: +1 Records Album: Talking Through Tin Cans 11,201STS9Record Label: 1320 RecordsAlbum: PEACEBLASTER 10,601TRIP LEERecord Label: Reach RecordsAlbum:20-20 10,003Continue on to the 4th and final part of this series�