The music industry flocked to Midem in Cannes, France in January, and event organizers reported attendance levels of nearly 10,000 according to Digital Music News.  That is an impressive crowd, though a critical component of the business was also well represented at the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, staged the week prior. The National Association of Music Merchandisers, which represents the global instrument industry, pulled a record tally of 84,695 attendees at its 105th event, according to numbers published January 23rd.  Both events fit snugly within the umbrella of music, though the represented sectors are being tugged by different market forces.  Major labels are being dragged by internet piracy and a migration away from CDs, while instrument manufacturers are booming from an increased appetite for performance and creativity.

The numbers tell an interesting and divergent tale.  Recorded music revenues dipped 23 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to figures published by global trade group IFPI.  But the numbers are quickly ramping in the other direction within the musical instrument category.  According to NAMM, global instruments sales have recently surged to $17 billion, and the percentage of those playing has also jumped.  A recent Los Angeles Times article, citing a NAMM-contracted Gallup Poll, noted that the number of instrument players between the ages of 18 to 34 grew from 24% in 1997 to 32% in 2006.  That signals a greater interest in jamming and self-expression, though a wave new digital recording and publishing technologies are also propelling the trend.  The result is an increasingly democratized process of musical creation and distribution, and a growing class of "do-it-yourself" artists.

Whether this trend continues or not will depend on the nature of the business opportunities available to the DIY crowd.  Will music flourish as simply a hobby in the future or will there be new and inspired ways of coming to market with new music and creating experiences and interactions between artists and fans that create value beyond a free MP3.

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2 replies
  1. Steve Grossman says:

    Dave, great insights. I think your last point is where we’re heading. Ultimately this is all about entertainment and new technology is blurring the lines between the doer and the watcher/listener in so many ways. This is giving birth to new art and new art appreciation. Well, perhaps ART is abit strong, but you get my point. I’ll be blogging about your post soon. Take care, Steve

  2. Why I FAILED says:

    New Forms of Entertainment

    The Future of Music has a terrific post about the decline of music sales and the RISE in sales of musical instruments and gear.
    The stats:

    Recorded music revenues dipped 23% from 2000 to 2005
    The percentage of 18 to 34 year olds professing to play mus…

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