Major Challenges In Music Industry

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The music industry is facing challenges through business perspective, the copyright of music, popular music, live music and the challenges artist face. For instance, online music sharing has prompted legal challenges and industry alliances, while raising significant concerns regarding the industry future. A study in 2000 reported 14 of internet users had downloaded music for free (Napster,2000). This number has grown rapidly, and online music sharing has been estimated to result in annual sales losses of $3.1 billion by 2005 for the music industry (Clark,2000). Singer Ed Sheeran was faced with a $20million court battle due to his track Photograph, claimed that it was a ‘note for note’ copy of Matt Cardle song called Amazing. Amazing was written by songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard. They are being represented by Richard Busch, the lawyer who represented Marvin Gaye’s family in the Blurred Lines court case in 2013. The lawsuit states: ‘The chorus sections of Amazing and the infringing Photograph share 39 identical notes – meaning the notes are identical in pitch, rhythmic duration, and placement in the measure (Poklington,2019). Breaking the copyright infringement.

A major challenge for the music industry majors was to find and create talents with significant ‘crossover’ potential, able to sell not just in the global music business but also globally. This partly involved the creation of a complex web of linkages with the so-called ‘independents’. These became increasingly connected to the majors by what Negus (1992, page 18) described as ‘complex patterns of ownership, investment, licensing, formal and informal and sometimes deliberately obscured relationships’. This resulted in a continually shifting organisational pattern, as the majors attempted to use the independents as a means of artist and audience research, whereas the independents sought access to the majors for their distribution channels. Finding and successfully establishing new artists are crucial elements of the recorded music business. The challenges of this process are diverse given the impulsiveness of musical tastes and genres. The use of music within advertising or within a television soundtrack can be the signal for a significant increase in CD sales, often outstripping the sales of artists being promoted through conventional marketing channels. The advantages of cross-selling music on the back of other cultural artefacts such as motion pictures, for example – was one of the main drivers behind the large media conglomerates, of which many of the leading record companies are a part of now (Negus, 1992; Sadler, 1997).

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Overcoming old barriers can create new barriers that arrive with a whole new set of problems that create new challenges for musicians. Here we will be looking at some of the challenges that the music industry faces and some key responses to those challenges. One of the main challenges that the music industry is facing is the death of albums. With streaming platforms dominating the music industry people have stopped relying on going to record stores and buying albums as with streaming they have access to millions of songs and albums with just a few clicks without even having to get out of their house. One key response to this issue would be that artists should focus more on merchandise sales instead of album sales or create special bundles with the album that include limited time merchandise or items with the album when purchased. With streaming platforms having millions of people using them every day and the sales of albums declining the next challenge that the music industry faces rise, and it is that streaming platforms treat artists poorly. Through duplicitous contract structures and low payments streaming platforms get away with a huge cut off the artists revenues. Key response to this problem would be for the artists to know how much they and their music is worth and to make sure to go through contract signings with caution as these contracts probably include something that they are not being told. With streaming platforms leaving the artists with a low pay check, artists feel that they are forced into long tours to survive. Such long tours are the next challenge that the music industry faces. Playing live shows and being on the road all the time can get tough for up and coming artists as there are expenses to be covered such as food and gas. These long tours can cause an artist to burnout and an increased risk of accidents while on the road. Names like Steve Aoki, Meghan Trainor and Nickelback are some examples of artists that suffered physical tour related setbacks and had to cancel shows because of them.

It is the essential bridge the gap between culture and economy in the music business, in order to realise its earnings potential as a commodity therefore music must be organised as something in which owners can claim rights. Copyright safeguards a company for its investment in product development and keeps out competition. In the music business it provides a lucrative stream of income in a variety of forms: as mechanical royalties, performance royalties (when a song is performed or broadcast), and synchronisation royalties (when a title is used as backing track to a film or commercial). Additionally, the reuse of recorded material is highly profitable. The material becomes more valuable over time. It can be resold. The significance of copyright protection is apparent from the attention lavished by the industry on the problems of piracy, or unauthorised reproduction. Culture in the digital era, the social networking sites, such as and, have blurred the boundaries between the producers and the consumers of culture, between the creator and the audience. As a result, sharing media have become central basis for promoting and marketing music products, which has increased the visibility of omnipresent artistic commodities.

It is becoming difficult for Artist to become legitimate and become successful as the music industry is heavily saturated and competitive. The issues of scale can have a numbing effect, thus causing the inquisitive factor to diminish. Secondly, music as an art form may not be the most effective means to market or gain popularity, since it can be argued that visual images have a more immediate effect than music.

Before ultimately deciding to listen to an artist’s music. Once you sign to a major record label, they will have complete control over your music and your image meaning that artists won’t have much control over what music they produce. Artists will have a lot of pressure on them to perform well and make money. This is because the major record labels would have invested a lot of money into their artists meaning they expect high results. You are one out of many artists under the record label, meaning unless you perform well it’s easy to be forgotten about, and the record label will lose interest in artists which aren’t successful.

However, the popularity of mainstream music is the driving force behind the success of certain artists’ careers on My allows artist to become recognised and gain popularity throughout social networks so digitalisation has greatly impacted this. On, once a member requests to be an artist’s ‘friend’, the artist can accept the member’s request and can become instantly part of the other’s network. Bourdieu recognise that branding yourself and being different artists can become successful and stand out from the crowd. Artist function collectively but their goal is to become an individual artist selling albums. Artists may need the collective networks merely to display their new albums or to have them consecrated via the networks. Artists’ survival and success are linked to individuality. However, the greatest works of art will make their own mark and will gain popularity and recognition by the mainstream through making music that people enjoy listening to and altering music to stay current.

Live music is an increasingly important part of the music industries. Live music products are resistant to many of the threats attacking other areas of the music sector and are growing in popularity (Williamson and Cloonan 2007). “The musician may be creator, consumer and seller at once, music can be thought of as a social model in which consumption and production co-exist and are mutually constitutive” (Bradshaw and Shankar 2008, 225) live music is where artist make huge amount of sales however the live music performance has challenges before the event, during the event as well as after the event.

Despite recognized difficulties in reconciling business and art, creative workers are expected to deploy entrepreneurial skills, motivated by competitive self-interest rather than co-operation (Hendry, 2004).Polarized view have developed over creative work it has been idealized way as free, autonomous and full of choice while others condemn its low pay, insecurity and generally exploitative tendencies (Banks and Hesmondhalgh, 2009; Gill and Pratt, 2008). It is not inevitable that all creatives working in the music industry will adopt entrepreneurship mentality. Weatherston (2009: 52) describes staff and students in a university music department as having a ‘natural unwillingness to be entrepreneurs. Caves (2000) notes of musicians that they may value some ‘finesse of execution’ more highly than another aspect of their performance that would be noticed by and appeal to the paying customer: ‘Hence, the artist may divert effort from aspects of the task that consumers will notice (thus affecting their willingness to pay) to those they will neither notice nor value’ (Caves, 2000: 4). Fenwick (2002) investigates the lives of women who have become self-employed, arguing that, despite the prevailing enterprise discourse, a complex mix of motivations and desires can influence the experience of self-employed work. Her research shows that the outcomes the participants sought from their self-employment were contradictory but not limited to growth and wealth. They also included quality of life, sustainability, constant learning and co-operative relationships. Fenwick provides evidence that some individuals’ approach to enterprise shows resistance to models based on competition. Some may ‘transgress altogether norms of business development driven primarily by economic logic’ (Fenwick, 2002: 718). Being proactive, in other words not waiting for work to come, is one of the means by which entrepreneurs can improve their chances of success (Hartshorn and Sear, 2005). Networking is a proactive strategy commonly used for getting work in a labour market such as music, where a lot of hiring happens informally through contacts and connections. The changeable nature of musicians’ work suggests a more complicated picture of their working lives than is provided by the polarized depictions. Musicians do enjoy freedom and variety, but they also experience challenges such as low pay, insecurity and fragmented working lives: ‘Most musicians are freelance, and it is precarious, and it’s hard, so you need to have passion for music. Working lives of musicians are complex. participants could be regarded as just getting by financially and facing insecurity, but the value of having music at the centre of their working lives alleviated some of the more negative aspects and strengthened their sense of community and identity as working musicians. It is the co-operative nature of music work life that helps illuminate musicians’ understandings of having business acumen.

The criticisms of the popular music industry are that it trivializes what is otherwise a potentially extreme form of influence. Criticisms of this kind are associated with Adorno, who argued that popular music ‘was bad, bound to be bad, without exception’ (1976: 225). His criticism was fuelled by his belief that popular music, produced in line with capitalist means of production, was merely an appeal to the lowest common cultural denominator and distracted its audiences from the realities of their social defeat. Adorno argued that the value of more ‘difficult’ classic music was that it demanded that its audiences gives it its full attention.

problems facing the music industry is the way in which popular music no longer commands the attention of consumers in the manner that it perhaps did. Linked to growing levels of affluence and disposable income, it was in the 1950s that people in their early 20s became the most important market segment within the music industry. The industry would lose significant numbers of consumers as they aged and popular music became less of an active role in their lives, crowded out as it was by the development of other tastes and interests. But, as these older consumers became less interested in popular music, they were simply replaced by new generations of willing music consumers. Digitalisation have begun to compete for this market segment, so that the amount of money young people spend on music has been reduced. New passions, be it mobile phones or even the Internet, have all attracted expenditure that, in many cases, was previously spent on music (Economist, 2003c).

With the emergence of, many musicians’ efforts to stream music became easier. However, the phenomenon and the general features of all social networking sites should not necessarily be effective and efficient, nor is audience taste always justly represented. In other words, there are also several shortcomings and problems linked to the popularity of this phenomenon. Firstly, because of the ubiquity of independent artists seeking recognition and the ease of making contacts, many users may not actually check out an artist’s music and take the time to listen to it. The more people who use this medium for promoting their music, the fiercer and tougher the competition. consumers have shown a great reluctance to pay for music in digital form, mainly because in recent years so much music has been freely available on the Internet clearly damaging to the profitability of the music industry. Illegal copying and transferring of music over the Internet is reducing the inflow of capital to the industry that would otherwise be used for the discovery of new artists.


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