What are people buying instead of music*?
Dipped my toe into the ever-circling “piracy debate” again this week: little new to be said. So this is a question I’ve wondered about a few times but not really seen answered. Let’s assume that the music industry has a point and that significant chunks of its core audience are spending less money on records than they did 10 years ago**. What are they spending money on instead? Real incomes are basically flat***, and people aren’t saving more, so perhaps something else is doing well out of the decline in music sales. What is it?****
*or other forms of digitally shareable culture?
**the idea that a download equates to a lost sale is silly, but the industry is still contracting, so saying “less money is being spent on recorded music” doesn’t seem controversial.
***real incomes for a lot of young people are non-existent, of course, but the record industry has done OK in previous periods of high unemployment. On the other hand, real incomes for a lot of people are falling so it might be that buying non-digital media has been sacrificed to rising prices of everything else.
****my own cheeky suggestion is that the decline of the recorded music market and the rise in interest in good food, craft beer, etc among young consumers aren’t wholly coincidental.