Thursday, August 30, 2012

Predicting the Future of Recorded Music

Physical sales will still be around for a while, maybe for another 20 or 25 years — until the people who are now in their 50s reach their 70s. There are kids out there, 20 to 25 years old, who have never bought a CD. We will release fewer and fewer recordings physically as time goes by, and more and more just digitally.
Klaus Heymann's prediction spells a certain doom to me. The problem is that he is not simply a person with insight, or a person who can spot trends. He is now the leader of the pack, and the person in the driver's seat (and he has been for the last quarter of a century). He is giving us his 25-year plan which I am certain will become everybody's 25-year plan.

Read this article and see what you think.

7 comments:

M. Handler said...

I believe there will always be a place for good music...now it's possible to distribute directly to listeners, rather than rely on record labels. But people will always want to enjoy listening to music, live and directly from the instruments.

I hope you continue to create beautiful music...

Charles Céleste Hutchins said...

Does he assume that people will never again go to concerts and buy a recording while there?

Elaine Fine said...

Let's hope that the disappearance of the commercially-made CD will encourage more people to go to concerts. Perhaps it will encourage people to create more concert series, thus giving more of the stellar musicians of our day places to play.

I don't know if the demise of the corporately-made CD will do anything to the self-produced CD market. I hope it doesn't

MICHAEL MONROE said...

By "doom to [you]" do you mean loss of opportunities to review, doom for music in general, or just doom for this particular physical format? I don't feel a great deal of loss in seeing the CD go away (and even less loss for the horrid DVD format), though I still miss LP's, for whatever that's worth.

Elaine Fine said...

By doom I mean the fate of the CD, and by extension the fate of machines that play them. Think of how few options we have for buying high-quality cassette players these days. People who have huge CD collections might find themselves in a bind. At least record players are mostly mechanical, and they don't wear out as quickly as CD players and cassette players do.

I don't worry about music itself, but I worry about maintaining access to all that we have accomplished in these last decades.

Anonymous said...

A long view is in order. Before recording, music had a variety of avenues and venues. It now has more. This means average and far-below average can be distributed alongside the best. One should note the best was not always the most popular. Technology is racing forward because individuals and companies are innovating new methods and products. The MP3 is a relatively new technology, and yet already surpassed with other file formats. Moreover the Internet is radical and free enough that once a file is obtained, control over it is essentially lost. Why find any of this "doom?" The 78s were "doomed," as were the 33LP disks, as were 8 tracks and VHS and more. The real story is mentioned by M. Handler: we don't really need the record labels. Come to think of it, we no longer need the publishers either. As the copyright "year" moves forward and public domain status looms for many works, such work becomes accesible and not less available. Who loses? Who is doomed? Only those who want to control their capital investment for far longer than makes sense. For this the Mickey Mouse copyright act extended "protection" to some owners, and thereby held access to work away from consumers. Doom? I can hardly wait for the next technologies, all just around the corner. Folks "miss" their favorite format and that is understandable. I heard a beautifully restored mechanical Victrola in NYC a little while back, and the 78 sounded glorious for what it was. But I won't be collecting 78s. Some folks do. I feel no doom, but only excitement as the years race by. Music is music is music, and the side issues of formats and such seems mostly a diversion. Written anything new lately? That's the real question.

Elaine Fine said...

Thank you for this "long view," Anonymous. It does put things into perspective. And I have been writing some new music--a tuba sonata that will be premiered in March, so I have to keep it under wraps until then. Also I have been doing a bunch of string orchestra arrangements (with harp) for our local summer strings orchestra.

What is important is that those of us who write keep writing, and those of us who play keep playing. It is also important that those of us who play make sure to ask those of us who write to write, thus keeping the real work of music alive.