Monday, June 25, 2012

A New Tone from the RIAA: "Reasonable and Well-Considered"

In a fascinating presentation, the CEO of the RIAA revealed The Music Industry in the Digital Age at the recent Personal Democracy Forum 2012 last week in New York City.

While high-profile copyright infringement litigation has drawn the public spotlight to the organization in recent years, Cary Sherman is sounding a different note, six months into his tenure at RIAA.

What many don't realize is that the vast majority of the sales made in the music industry come from very few, massively popular items.  Of the 77,000 new albums released last year, 80% sold fewer than 100 copies.  94% sold fewer than 1,000.

As Cary suggests 11 minutes into the video, "For all the opportunities for niche, specialized markets where the music is going to be able to find its fan base, what's interesting is that most people download and stream the stuff that is most popular".

Having said that, Cary is reaching out to new distribution methods and platforms.  He suggests that record labels are to recording artists as venture capitalists are to entrepreneurs.  As head of the industry association, he is working to broaden DRM free music distribution and to make it simpler and easier to license music and develop new business models.

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