The easy answer is yes. But what if you had to choose one or the other? Last night’s big winner was the group Lady Antebellum. Twenty years ago the Grammy winners would experience a nice bump in record sales (actually even then they were CD’s and not LP’s). Artists did not need to tour nearly as much as they do today, as twenty years ago selling tens or hundreds of thousands of CD’s afforded them a nice living. Sales of recorded music has changed due to the popularity of Apple’s iTunes, and illegal download sites like Limewire (which has since been shut down), Kazaa and other like sites.
From the RIAA site (Recording industry Association of America) – “One credible analysis by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes. For copies of the report, please visit www.ipi.org”
Last night’s 53rd Grammy Awards (‘Music’s biggest night’) were advertised to be all about the music and performances and not as much about awards. Originally called a Gramaphone award, Grammy’s are handed out by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry.
Many top industry executives agree that the music industry is in a downward spiral and counsel up and coming artists, especially the plethora of trend following pop and hip hop artists and producers, to “get out while they still can.” If the Grammys’ are not about promoting recorded music it would follow that they are about the artists themselves. And thus promoters like Live Nation are now firmly in control of performance venues and merchandise. Ever wonder why Live Nation is not sponsoring the Grammy Awards? That’s an easy one. Because they don’t need to. The 360 deals pioneered by Robbie Williams of EMI back in 2008, now encompass recordings, live concerts and merchandise.
The Grammy Awards are no longer about music. They are about entertainment and the show. You saw Barbra Streisand last night win an achievement award for her contributions to the recording industry. But that industry is nothing like what it was when Ms. Streisand was putting out #1 records. And as an artist who never cared much for public performances Ms. Streisand would have a much more difficult time today making an impact solely with her amazing voice. That can be said for more than just Barbra Streisand by the way. Today’s artists must perform live in order to make a living even if a Grammy Award offer a short term spike in a recording artist’s sales. The problem is that spike in sales is not sustainable.
Did you watch? Do you care? Do you buy more or less music than you did five years ago? Ten years ago?