To: Professor Quinn<br />From: Wallace Coney<br />Date: March/22/2011<br />Subject: Research Proposal<br />Research Topic: Have high album sales come to an end for Musicians? If so, which genre? And how do Musicians compensate for low album sells? <br />The one thing that everyone can agree on is that technology improves as time unravels. Indeed, new technology is introduced every year it seems. This very thing could be the issue behind plummeting album sales. Some may beg to differ that album sales are even plummeting, but the fact is this; album sales are reaching all-time lows. This research will back the theory of declining album sales for the present and for time to come. <br />In this 21st century we live in, are we as a people convinced that music should be free? If not, then why do we look to download music for free at every expense? There’s an article I found online entitled Album Sales Drop – Anyone Feel Like Paying Up?, written by Morelli. In this article, it discusses the downward trend of album sales since 2000. The article also points out some key things; the recession, which put a damper on American’s budgets, digital track sales, and internet piracy. The following paragraphs will dissect these key points further. <br />As stated in the article by Morelli, the majority of music can be streamed from numerous online sources for free. People will turn to free music instead of paying for it when their money is funny. During the recession people steered away from buying CDs and found other ways to listen to the music they love. Online music streaming is beyond popular at this point. People who actually buy an artist’s album can then upload the music on several different internet sites; one very popular site known as YouTube. For those who would like to listen to the music at their own expense have the choice of buying digital tracks or surfing the net for free downloads.<br />-164465930910Even though digital music is on the rise, it doesn’t nearly compensate for the loss of album sales. No matter how popular digital music gets, it will never replace the loss revenue from CDs. Digital music sales are on the rise, but are growing at an increasingly slow rate. The following chart from the Atlantic Wire website shows the information in a visual format:<br /> Music Sales from 1997 to 2010<br />The chart above shows the Global recorded music sales both physical and digital. It’s clear to see that album sales has made a drastic downward spiral that in my opinion will never rise again. Ethan Kaplan, a former Senior VP at Warner Music Company, believes that CDs should be put to rest. He says that CDs are used “in order to justify the size of an industry which does not exist anymore.”<br />Piracy<br />Everyone in the music industry agrees that widespread music piracy is the main culprit behind our simultaneous thirst for music and loss of appetite for paying to get it. - Unknown blogger, karaoke.com <br />Internet piracy is another big album downer, if not the biggest. Music piracy is the illegal<br /> downloading of music, often advertised as “free music,” online. Almost every big anticipated<br />album is leaked. They are then ready for download on the many different sites to download <br />free music. Sites like Album Hunt have created an ideal music downloading power house for free music. Why purchase any new album that comes out, when you can download it directly from this site before the album is even released in stores? People can download music onto their computer and transfer it to their phones in minutes. Those with smart phones can even cut out the first step and just download music straight from their cellular phones. Free music apps like Fildo can be downloaded to your cellular phone and can be used to download the latest music straight to your mobile phone. Indeed, it seems as though illegal mp3 downloading has become a substitute for legal CD purchases. <br />Piracy 1lefttop<br />Fildo, one of many free music apps that can be downloaded from your mobile phone and used to download free music to your cellular device.<br /> <br />The majority of music listeners are teenagers. Most teenagers have an iPod or mp3 playing device that they like to use on the go. Teenagers being teenagers are going to download music any way they can get it. Free being the first option for any teenager. This would have them surfing through programs like LimeWire, FrostWire, and other programs like these that can download music and videos at no expense.<br />Genre<br />Album sales in all genres have fallen. There is no genre safe from declining album sales. There are though certain artists in the Hip-hop/Rap genre that are breaking records in album sales. Even in Canada, album sales continue to decline. The only genre to show growth in Canada is Rap music; as stated by the Canadian Press. Let’s take Nicki Minaj for example. Her “Pink Friday” album sold a record number of 376,000 copies in the first week. This is absolutely fantastic for the current state the music industry is in. Another reputable artist by the name of Eminem benefited in album sales with his “Recovery” album, selling 435,000 copies. Not all big name artists are selling this good though. From a usually bankable artist 50cent, there was not much luck in album sales his way.<br /> An article by Lee Simmons from Bizmology.com stated that; “Such dismal sales have hardly been helped by equally disappointing showings by seemingly bankable artists.” Meaning, popular artists aren’t achieving the numbers that are expected of them. Even with their popularity, there is still a decline in their album sales. Albums sold per week are declining. The numbers keep sliding below the 5 million dollar mark. Albums are said to be no longer label’s bread and butter.<br />2838450134620-10477510795<br />If the money isn’t behind album sales anymore, then how do artists compensate for their losses? <br /> The iTunes Music Store supports Musicians by making songs available to the public after payment, and then iTunes turns around and pays the artist. Musicians get monies from ringtones too. The wealth of an artist can also be factored from how famous that person is. In that way, money can also be made from shows, concerts, digital track sales, media, and investing in some sort of business. An article called David Byrne On Digital Age Music Distribution, explains how both labels and artists can survive in the “digital age.” What David Byrne states is more beneficial for the artist is a pact called a license deal. This is where the artists retains copyright of the masters and allow record labels to use the masters for a limited period of time. This is an example of ownership. David Byrne states that ownership is everything. <br />Royalties are another way of making ends meet for an artist. Royalties are typically agreed upon as a percentage of gross or net revenues derived from the use of an asset or a fixed price per unit sold of an item. – Wikipedia. The way that royalties work is that for every unit sold you get a set amount per unit. The payments are always future dated, usually six months. Meaning you don’t get the money right away from the sales. Let’s say that you are an artist and you have written a song that ended up on a platinum selling album. If you get .09 cents a unit, and a million units were sold in a 6-month period, you get a check for $90,000 after the 6-month period. That’s if you own the rights to your songs and make your own publishing. <br />In conclusion, I would like to review the questions in which this research was comprised.<br /><ul><li>Have high album sales come to an end for Musicians?
How do Musicians compensate for low album sells?</li></ul>Indeed, “high” album sales, the remarkable numbers that are expected or hoped for, have come to end for most artists. The downward trend of album sales through the years has affected all genres. Artists may suffer from the unfortunate sales, but there are others ways to compensate for album sales. If a music artist is what you inspire to be, you now know the deal. <br /> <br />References<br />http://lashawnbarber.com/archives/2007/12/20/david-byrne-on-digital-age-music-distribution/<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royalties<br />http://beatcrave.com/2009-01-02/album-sales-drop-anyone-feel-like-paying-up/<br />http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2011/03/digital-music-doesnt-come-rescue/36143/<br />http://www.bizmology.com/2010/09/22/dept-of-stink-album-sales-hit-record-low/<br />http://news.ca.msn.com/entertainment/article.aspx?cp-documentid=28259105<br />