A while ago Dwayne Winseck wrote an article looking at the state of the music industry in Canada. He starts with a graph showing the decline of recorded music revenues (which, admittedly, is rather dramatic) but quickly shows other areas of the music industry as a whole - publishing, live shows, etc. Interestingly enough, each of these other areas are actually growing in revenue, as is the music industry as a whole.
lots of blame going around for the so-called decline of the music
industry, piracy being chief among them. But Winseck's article shows
that music fans are spending money, just in other areas. Why might this
be? The proliferation of technologies used to download illegally
certainly has something to do with this (along with other factors that
have their place in a conversation more in-depth than this), but
consider other - legal - uses of technology that have led to this point.
upon a time a record label would release an album and, either before or
after, treat the wanting public to a single or two. There's no doubt
been a time when you've heard a song on the radio without knowing
anything else about the rest of the album on which the single was
released. If you liked the song, maybe you'd buy the album. If you
bought the album, maybe you'd find that the rest of the songs were
terrible. The result? Dropping ten or twelve or how ever many dollars
on a handful of songs, if that many, that you enjoyed.
Napster and Limewire and, legally, iTunes. No longer were people
forced to pay full album price for the one song they wanted. If they
only wanted one song, it didn't even have to be the one that was
released as a single. They could get exactly what they wanted but for a
buck or two, not ten. Convenient, quick, consumer-friendly, legal -
and bringing in a fraction of the revenue. Such is the march of
progress, but it's not all bad. After all, that money is being spent
The article was timely, because it came out right before Augie De Blieck Jr.'s writeup on Vertigo Comics' "Strange Adventures" anthology.
He expressed concerns with the issue since only one of the stories
within connected with him. This is a gamble with any sort of anthology
or short story collection, and may be an indicator toward their relative
decline in recent years. It's a scenario eerily similar to that of
So what's the point of all of this?
Technology is rapidly changing the way we consume media and it begs the
question of why can't books be next: sell short stories as stand-alone
pieces instead of one big book that people don't want to pay for. It's
just one piece of an ever-changing puzzle. I've already discussed extensively Kickstarter before, and Cory Doctorow is similarly updating his business model. There will always be a market for
collected editions, just as print will never fully and completely give
way to digital books. It's an exciting time, and, unlike many of the
big media corporations, it's important to jump on board before you get