Two interesting articles (The Barriers of Music Consumption & The Broken System) about the change in music consumption from physical/album based to digital/single. The articles make some good points about the change in how people collate and collect music, from a wall of physical LPs to an iPod of tracks, and the changes that has brought to the development of musical taste.
Their main thesis is that for those that have been raised in the digital music era the old/existing music industry is broken, not the other way around. The digital consumers don’t know any other way of listening to and discovering music, so there’s no chance of the recording industry ‘fixing' things and going back to the way it used to be.
Something Sir Mick articulated well in a recent BBC interview:
“But I have a take on that - people only made money out of records for a very, very small time. When The Rolling Stones started out, we didn’t make any money out of records because record companies wouldn’t pay you! They didn’t pay anyone!
Then, there was a small period from 1970 to 1997, where people did get paid, and they got paid very handsomely and everyone made money. But now that period has gone.
So if you look at the history of recorded music from 1900 to now, there was a 25 year period where artists did very well, but the rest of the time they didn’t.” (via Daring Fireball)
If the recording industry wants to stay relevant, they need to adapt to the digital consumption era rather than trying to reintroduce and enforce the analogue years. Unfortunately for Big Music I think it’s too late - the indies, artists, and web music services have supplanted them in usefulness.