The Future of Music: My Personal View

Discussion in 'Music' started by Lee Scoggins, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
    I have been thinking a lot recently about where music business may be headed. Recent reviews in audiophile mags raving about the iPod and today's Wall Street Journal story on the retailers getting squeezed have led me to think where the world is headed.

    Here is my personal view of the future of music:

    1. Niche Heaven - I see many audio segments developing even more specialty niches. I see mass market popular music splitting into many niches of musical tastes, and I see audiophiles having a 2-channel option, and home theater fans maybe having a video based option.

    2. More Resolution Please - I think that high resolution in either Super Audio or DVD Audio form is here to stay. Whether one believes it can widen or will be just a loyal laserdisc-like following is hard to gauge and anyway we don't want to discuss any format wars. The idea here is that there are some more vocal, more rabid music fans who DO want to hear their music in the best possible fidelity.

    3. MP3 Mass Market Mania - I think the cat was let out of the bag a long time ago so the RIAA should spend its attorney's fees on building a massive iTunes instead of suing 12 year old girls. The consumer convenience of choosing their own songs and carrying them anywhere is too tempting for most of America, even if they have to pay. Downloads are not going away and the idiots running the music companies should "face the music" as soon as possible.

    4. iPod of the Future - In the future, one will be able to pay more for better fidelity. iPods will have tremendous storage space and be able to handle hirez music from both SACD and DVDA. Record labels will charge more, of course, but many will pay for the extra fidelity as remasterings improve sonics and gear gets better chip decoding. This may still be limited to just a portion of one's collection and the rest is at 128 or 256k, but the labels may still profit from the premium charged.

    5. Local Artists Thrive - More portable audio will allow local artists to have a cheaper path to sales by leveraging the web. I am concerned that there may be a period of time where the specialty retailers cut back severely on independent but high quality jazz and classical and only focus on big sellers due to the profit margin squeeze. I hope it does not happen.

    6. Specialty Retailers Consolidate - I think more and more specialty record stores will struggle. Many have too much debt (from acquisitions and bad management) and the squeeze on profit margins will hurt them. The only winners will be the Best Buys and Circuit Citys that have better margins on electronic items; they will keep music as a big draw for foot traffic however.

    7. Audio and Computer Convergence - High end companies will prosper by remaining small and serving the audiophile and home theater niches. The big change, however, will be that computer copmanies like Dell and others will enter the market and start offering additional devices like iPod-like playback and new "media storage" boxes. Consumer electronics copmanies will have a disadvantage in keeping up since it is about digital storage. Maybe some alliances between audio and computer firms will result.

    Well, that's my take. What do you think? What do you see happening differently and why?
     
  2. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,461
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  3. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,119
    Likes Received:
    0
    Now, my turn:

    1. Going back to small, speciallized labels: The problem with the big label system is that if you are a niche artist, they probably aren't going to be serving you the way they should. I'm seeing this a lot already.

    2. Artists doing it on their own: Following the Marillion example, I can see second tier artists who have a rabid fan base deciding to do things on their own. Some by choice, some by necessity.

    3. Hi Rez continues to be a niche product: Lee says that Hi Rez audio is here to stay. I personally think that, unless the industry shoves it down our throats for DRM reasons, it will be a niche product at best. While there are some that do care about the quality, most don't. They are quite happy with CDs.

    4. Portable audio being further developed: I do think that we will see improvement with what I call "Portable audio", which is stuff like MP3s. Improved storage capabilities and compression, with probably DRM will still push things.

    5. The death of radio: What I mean by this is radio as the primary promotional tool for music. Radio will still exist for people to listen to their favorite genres, but not nearly as much for finding new music. I see this moving more towards internet and satelite radio, which can offer more variety than OTA radio can.

    Jason
     
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    IMO, the music biz is caught in a stalemate that they brought on themselves by bullying the market. They're working on new copyguards for discs. They haven't seen the light IMO. They seem bound and determined to create the status quo that they want, damn customers wants and desires!

    SACD and DVD-A are floundering and the emergence of either as anything more than a "toy" format seems uncertain, not proabable.

    The next phase will proably be to try to replace the CD format with contra-CD's (copy-guarded). The public will reject them, of course. I don't see how any format can replace CD presently as much as the suits wish it could be done. We all want an "open" format like CD is because it suits the way folks manipulate their music, record, burn, rip, ect...

    One of my questions is at what point will the industry refuse to sell "open" CD's?

    How long till the industry starts pushing for players with NO ANALOG OUTPUTS??? Think about it, that would be the way to take control here in the DMCA age.

    I think that the big 5's music business is going to go into a long slow decline that they cannot or won't stop. They want to rule the market with an iron hand not a handshake and a smile like other industries do.

    The music biz has turned so many customers into enemies. As long as the R.I.A.A. exists, many potential customers will walk away from new disc sales and buy used or download.

    Hi-rez is not going to be the biz's savior IMO. They've identified a small percentage of the market that will buy vinyl, SACD, and DVD-A and are willing to pay more to get something better. That small percentage of the market are predominately middle-aged IMO. That's why they won't do day and date release of pop muzik. The young people they crave wouldn't buy into the better format thang, anyway, not at the prices that the suits desire IMO.

    I think that the best that we can hope for is that indie labels rise and that the big five gradually sink into oblivion. I'd say we're stuck in a stalemate, for now. Fingerpointing is fun isn't it!

    My fundamental premise is that music is worth about 20% of what the big five sez that it is. Universal's price reduction pledge just isn't nearly enough. Old music, sometimes 30 or more years old, should be really cheap, even if it is the Beatles, Elvis, Zappa, or whoever! New music has some justification for costing a little more.

    My crystal ball sees file trading, disc swapping, home recording, and continued resistence to high, fixed prices....
     
  6. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
     
  7. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,461
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  8. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2000
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    Brian, I think the "new music is crap" thang recurs because the labels push and promote the crap so hard. Finding out about the better music is not always easy. I think it is fair to say that the most heavily promoted music is crappier than ever...[​IMG] Finding the tallented musicans was much easier in the past.
     
  10. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2000
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    1
    True, Rachael, but you get my point? There is good music out there, and lots of it.
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    Absolutely Brian! It's just harder than ever to find out about it though. I put up a review of the latest Friends Of Dean Martinez album a few months ago and the response was very small. The best rock album that I've heard this year is the Derek Trucks Band and it's not at all well known. Derek Trucks should be a star! ...or atleast well-known. There are more good artists than ever but finding them is like looking for Waldo... [​IMG]
     
  12. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,461
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. Anthony Stephan

    Anthony Stephan Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2000
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Carl,
    I think your last point about the post Baby-Boomers being ignored is right on. Wal-Mart and K-Mart have done some extensive research and found that people like yourself are too busy looking for a good deal on diapers to be wrapped up in music. I really think that more attention has to be paid to that thirty-something, forty-something demo who loves music but can't find what they love.

    The best way that this demo has found good music is TV and word of mouth. How do you think Norah Jones sold her millions? Radio got on the band wagon very late. It was word of mouth. Then when she hit TV, it was all over. That album sold to a 30+ audience. As did the soundtrack to "Oh Brother". What a lousy record. Yet, people schoozing at cocktail parties told eachother it was a must have. OR the Talk-show host they listen to gave it a good review. They sure as hell didn't here it on the radio.

    Here's the delema...radio. Radio sucks. Anyone disagree?
    Radio designed for the older demos plays oldies or watered down homoginized pablum that puts people to sleep.

    I wish I had the answer as to how to reach people who are worried about paying bills and raising their kids and get them to buy music, because I'd get rich quick.

    The other problem with the industry and the teen-pop trash is that THAT IS where they make money. You can't invest in jazz, classic or those quirky left-of-center artists if you don't have the cash. How do you make the cash? You sell lots of Britney Spears.

    The same label that puts out Britney Spears, puts out Buddy Guy. Sales on Buddy Guy albums don't keep the lights on, know what I mean?
     
  14. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
     
  15. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,461
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2003
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    If music matters to you at all:

    Hit the clubs and concert halls... I know, easier said than done -- but it seems more than ever, this is how artists will make the bulk of their income as time goes on... besides, live music is in a class by itself.

    Patronize the artists' websites... the majors will always work for the Britney's; no sense in waiting for them to produce actual music... go to the source.

    Radio... ClearChannel is truly the devil itself... where possible, find and listen to local college stations... many are streamed online now, in addition to many other specialty online stations... this is where new and eclectic music can be found -- commercial-free in many cases!

    Delivery system... I'd like to see hi-res hang on somehow, but redbook CDs have come a long way; if that's as good as it ever got, we could be a lot worse off... if it all gets dumbed down to MP3 as the world becomes more crowded and costly (it could happen), I'd find a way to live with it (new upsampling technology?) as long as I can access quality content.

    If you want it, make an effort.
     
  17. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 1998
    Messages:
    5,593
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  18. Steve Crowley

    Steve Crowley Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think one of the reasons the music 5 caters to the 15-24 crowd is money. I myself have bought 5 CD's this past year and only 1 was from a major label. It was o brother soundtrack and I thought it brought bluegrass back into the mainstream that had been lost for a few years. I am 45 and listen to Pacifica KPFT 90.1 here in H-town almost exclusively. Public supported and great music to boot. Every one is right that Clear Channel is satan, what trash they put out.

    As far as Hi rez goes it will take awhile for it to catch on but I think it will be here to stay. I would rather buy a concert DVD and listen to it in full blown PCM 24/96 than buy the same CD with only audio on it. Look at the price difference of concert DVD as compared to CD. Not much. DVD has a better value and you can use the analog outputs and burn straight to a CD for the car. Thats what I do as I think many others do as well. Like your opinions on that one.

    As a musician I can see why there should be more indie labels offering contracts for local bands as this would lower the cost of CD and give the artist more cache in his pocket. I play in the local theater group for free and of course would like to get money for my efforts but the after parties more than make up for that. Just not really excited about joining a union. We have a lot of prog here and when they play they usually have CD's for sale. $10. Local band in Houston is Stride and they are fantastic.

    Until the music industry gets there act together then the pirating of music will not stop. Maybe they should stop releasing CD's and go back to vinyl. Copy protecting CD's will not work as there is always a hack to get around that. If they keep putting out unintelligable lyrics with bass heavy riffs I guess that indie is where its at.
     
  19. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Lee
     
  20. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,607
    Likes Received:
    0
    The way I see it happening:

    1. The music industry will continue to suffer - It'll only get worse before it gets better. There's so much competition for your entertainment dollar - that even more people will be spending their money on DVDs, internet, home theatre and computer/console games.

    2. The big 5 labels will eventually split up into smaller labels with their own special niches of music. The labels will realize that putting 99% of their marketing effors ant budgets to a select few artits and trying to "hit a home run" with them is costing them more money than it's making them. With the creation of smaller labels and the breakdown (to an extent) of the big 5 labels, we'll start to see more development and patience towards new artists.

    3. MP3 (and other digital formats) will be the dominant audio format. Portable MP3 players will take a major chunk away from the Portable CD/cassette market. Almost all DVD players will be compatable with MP3.

    4. The death of the CD player. It's been happening for a few years now, and will continue. Standalone CD players will be eliminated from the general market and will only be geared towards the audiophile in their niche markets. DVD players will be the standard player for everything (DVD, CD, DVD-A, MP3) in the home. More MP3 players in the car.

    5. Hi-Rez audio will survive as a small niche product. Almost all DVD players will have DVD-A compatability but it won't spark many to move towards the format. SACD compatability will be offered in less players and will be geared more towards the audiophile market.

    6. Radio (as we know it) will continue to die off. More talk radio will be available, and less music stations will be around. MP3 will seriously diminish the amount of radio people listen to in the car.

    7. CD will continue to be the main audio format, but will see lose a decent amount of market share to digital music (MP3).

    8. DVD Music will gain a sizable share of the market. The music industry will realize and accept the fact that people need to be visually stimulated and not just aurally. More and more CDs will include a seperate DVD disc with either music videos and/or concert footage from the artist.
    Concert DVDs will double (at least) in sales.

    9. More independance for artists. With the internet and digital media, the artists will be less dependant on the music labels and can promote their music themselves. The middle-men in the industry will feel the pinch causing massive restructuring from the big 5 labels.
     

Share This Page