I haven’t bought a CD since 2011. If it isn’t on Spotify, to me, it doesn’t exist.
Once you’ve experienced the convenience of having the entire history of recorded music in your pocket, why would you go back to schlepping files around? 50 million paid subscribers agree.
Thus, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I pronounce the CD dead.
I’ll go one further – selling music is dead.
Back in the mid-90s, I’d pull in $1200 a month from CD sales, and I barely had any fans. These days my albums get hundreds of thousands of downloads, but I don’t make $1200 a year in sales.
What’s a recording artist to do?
Hold back? Keeping my material off Spotify and YouTube is a losing battle. Streaming is the future. The data I’ve seen suggest that streaming actually boosts sales, rather than undercutting them.
Tour? I don’t perform, though I did for a few years in the late 90s. It’s not for me. It’s crazy tough to turn a profit, even for big names like Rihanna. Plus I’m not keen on sleeping in my car.
Kickstarter/PledgeMusic? I’ve already written about my distaste for the glorified preorder route. It forces you to decide exactly what you’re going to make before you make it, and know precisely how much it will cost. If you meet your goal (and half don’t), making and fulfilling rewards from a dozen different tiers is expensive, time-consuming, and soul-sucking.