In 2014, not a single artist’s album has gone platinum. Not one has managed to cross that million sales mark.
Streaming/internet radio is eating digital downloads for lunch. And I think this trend is going to continue until things hit some sort of basement. But then, and I honestly believe this, something new will come around that will bring music back from the brink.
Payouts to artists from streaming is, from everything I’ve read, a far cry from the payouts that artists could earn from the album sales of yore. So streaming, while great for all of us consumers, isn’t particularly great for the artists. Especially massively popular artists.
So while we get to have our cake and eat it too, more and more artists will begin to try to find other ways to make up that revenue. Touring is an obvious way to do that. But I think we’ll start to see different ways of packaging the content — both digitally and physically — in the future.
Jack White did this somewhat recently by recording and releasing a record on vinyl in the same day. Sounds a bit cheeky? Well, he smashed a sales record doing it.
What will the artists with established audiences end up doing to make different products with their content so as to make up for the lost revenue of digital downloads? I don’t know but I’m eager to see.