Feeds

Music spending stops defying recession (and gravity)

We've run out of wrinklies who can reform

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Despite a booming live concert and festival scene, consumer spending on music is down again, according to an economic analysis of "wallet share" - how much people actually fork out for the stuff.

Whether this is bad news or not as bad as it could be is a fascinating question.

According to Will Page, economist at the PRS (or as we must call it, PRSformusic), music spending defied the recession in 2008 and 2009, but dipped again last year. Overall music spending dipped from 0.38 per cent of total consumer spending in 1997 to 0.28 per cent last year. But the split between live and recorded purchases over this period was dramatic, and is best illustrated by this graph.

[Click for legend]

It's even more dramatic considering the time spent listening to recorded music in its many forms now – a proper analysis of which is long overdue.

Various factors have been proposed to explain the fall in recorded music spending. Supermarkets forced CD prices to fall; Apple and other digital services unbundled the CD, and consumers bought tracks they liked, rather than the full CD. But the risk-free acquisition of digital music without paying for it is hard to argue with, especially since live and recorded revenues previously had gone hand-in-hand, but have now diverged.

The overall wallet share fall in 2010 could be attributed to greedy promoters overmilking the market. Ticket prices have shot up, and bands play more dates than ever.

(Michael Jackson was booked in for 50 dates at the O2 Arena, before he died).

There are only so many festivals to go to. And there are only so many wrinkly old bands that can reform: a study in 2009 showed that it was the nostalgia circuit that benefitted the most from the live boom – snatching money from mid-level or new acts.

So back to the intriguing question: is this bad news, or could it have been worse? For music spending of any kind to grow in a recession must demonstrate the strength of the demand. Pay TV and gym memberships were cancelled when the credit crunch hit, but households still allocated money for music. That's a glass-half-full analysis. The pessimist (or realist) might respond that the music industry is unable to make much of this demand. Fifty-quid-a-week bloke has turned into 20-megabits-a-second bloke, who, while willing to pay, is spending his money elsewhere.

You can read the full paper here (six-page PDF/1.8 MB). ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.