Here’s the Low-down on downloading

Not many people know this, but a lot of my childhood was spent at late night gigs. Mum would put 4 chairs together so I could have a ‘normal’ bedtime while my parents and all our friends would rock out to a local band straight out of a garage (most commonly a band made up of dad, uncle Dave, my cousin and two of our family friends). Please don’t call DOCs I turned out just fine and it sounds worse than it is!

What I’m trying to say is that I grew up surrounded by music; jamming at Aunty Jo and Uncle Dave’s on a Sunday afternoon on their back deck with all the cousins, spending most Saturday nights at various Golf clubs and pubs rocking out to the best of the 80s and countless times my parents convinced me to learn a new instrument only for me to give up. But how does this translate in today’s society? My family’s CD and record collection is out of control (similarly to my mum’s obsession to keep it all in alphabetical order) but would this be different had today’s technology existed 15 years ago? Where we can download or stream just about anything we want whenever we wanted? Are the days of buying albums and CDs gone? (In saying that, who in their right mind would download an album using dial-up speed?). But the question of the hour is; where are we getting our music from?

With a massive decline in CD sales, music downloading and streaming is fast becoming the most accessible and popular way people are listening to their music. Sites like Spotify and Soundcloud are the reason behind the increasing popularity gen x isn’t purchasing CDs from record stores.

To take a more ‘localized’ approach, as part of my BCM studies we have been asked to conduct an interview using the survey made as part of a group assignment. The results are in people! Specifically looking at the demographic of 18-24 year olds, I interviewed a 22-year-old male living on the South coast. This gentleman is an avid music listener and will most commonly stream his music using Spotify. He believes his financial contribution is more effective through him attending concerts and festivals. However, it is important to note that he will frequently purchase albums from record stores when he finds one that he likes after streaming all their songs online. He believes purchasing the album is his way of really backing a band or artist and is happy to pay a general price of around $20 to purchase these albums. The gentleman also mentioned that he believes illegally downloading music is more common than streaming and doesn’t think that it is overly unethical to do so. This is because he believes artists get most of their income through other means such as ticket and merchandise sales. When questioned about the ‘legal’ implications and if he is aware of what the consequences could be he simply stated that if authorities were to take action against those illegally downloading or streaming music the government would have a big issue with finding the means to ‘punish’ the mass consumption of illegally downloaded music.

So where does my interview results sit in the wider scheme of things? Midia released a research report in 2014 by Marl Mulligan stating, “30% of consumers are music streamers and a fifth of these consumers par to stream” (Mulligan, M 2014). Statistica also released this clearly showing the rapid growth of the digitalization of the music industry

music

This growth has definitely taken a toll on music sales and the Guardian has reported that “Rising streaming income may makeup for falling downloads income, but fear its not quite ready to balance out that plus the ongoing decline in CD sales” (Dredge, S 2014).

It will definitely be interesting to see if the next few years brings a rise in the sales produced by streaming sites as its popularity continues to grow against the declining sales of hardcopy music. We live in world were we are moving from owning our music to accessing it.

Clayton, M & Herbet, T & Middleton, R 2003, The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction, Psychology Press, UK

Dredge, S 2014, ‘Music streams are up and downloads are down. Why is that a surprise?’, Guardian, 29 August, viewed 15 April, <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/29/music-streams-downloads-mark-mulligan&gt;

Imam, J 2012, Young listeners opting to stream, not own music’ , CNN, viewed 15 April 2015, < http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/15/tech/web/music-streaming/&gt;

Mulligan, M 2014, How Streaming is Changing the Music Industry, Midia Research, viewed 15 April 2015, < http://www.midiaresearch.com/blog/view/how-streaming-is-changing-the-music-industry-.html#&gt;

Statistica, 2015, Global digital music revenue from 2004 to 2014 (in billion U.S. dollars)’, Statistica, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://www.statista.com/statistics/263109/global-digital-music-revenue/&gt;

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