Extremely depressing news for contemporary labels and artists.
"NARM has traditionally been a sales-focused conference, and over the weekend, plenty of stats were being bandied about. At a top level, the downward decline in physical sales remains obvious, though this is an industry pondering a very complicated puzzle. Instead of consumers walking away, engagement is higher than ever before, just not across paid channels.
Hence, the vexing riddle. How do artists, labels, and the broader industry take advantage of this enormous demand, most of which is being satisfied for free? And, how does anyone launch a career in such a super-saturated market?
On that last question, Nielsen Soundscan offered some sobering stats. A total of 98,000 albums were released in 2009, and just a handful crossed the million-mark. Perhaps more sobering, just 2.1 percent managed to cross the 5,000-mark, a group that made up 91 percent of total sales. Suddenly, fresh artists are staring at a near-zero chance of selling even modest amounts, part of a continued drizzle on DIY optimism.” - TheDailySwarm
So Gaga and Taylor Swift are the only ones making any pocket money this year. Shit is depressing. I think about the number of new labels even within my favoured sphere of, frankly, niche electronic music, and there are tens of dozens, possibly even hundreds of them. This is great in some respects - there is a wider choice, a more DIY ethic to the availability of music and allows for greater creativity and focus. On the other hand, where do I even begin to look for new music? The amount of choice that I have actively hinders the process of finding and enjoying records and artists that I haven’t heard of before AND produce something of quality. It’s becoming a chore to start a search from scratch. Quality control is a big issue. If everyone and their best friend and their best friend’s cousin has a label, where do I even start to find those records that get me excited?
“It’s interesting, isn’t it? To sleep with your husband, a thirty-eight year old woman and a thirty-nine year old man, and never a breathy sound of sex. He’s your ex-husband who was never technically ex, the stranger you married in another lifetime. She dressed and undressed, he watched and did not. It was strange but interesting. A tension did not build. This was extremely strange. She wanted him here, nearby, but felt no edge of self-contradiction or self-denial. Just waiting, that was all, a broad pause in recognition of a thousand sour days and nights, not so easily set aside. The matter needed time. It could not happen the way things did in normal course. And it’s interesting, isn’t it, the way you move about your bedroom, routinely near-naked, and the respect you show the past, the deference to its fervors of the wrong kind, its passion of cut and burn. She wanted contact and so did he.”—Don DeLillo, Falling Man