Here’s the problem with digital music. It’s music. And music consumption is being replaced by the internet and messaging.
Daily book readership, as a percentage of leisure time spent, took a major hit when the radio came around. Radio listenership diminished with the advent of TV. TV is fluctuating but as baby boomers go asunder it, too, will take a back seat to the growth of whatever is next. Even today, if you look closely at ear buds they’re tethered to people staring at the screens (video) not to people with with eyes closed, boppin’ to music.
I don’t listen to much music anymore, unless I’m in a bar. Or when Pearl Jam or X come around. I go to see Hot Tuna (Jorma and Jack) every year but friends orchestrate that. A road trip to Williamsburg to see someone new like Justin Townes Earle is worthy, but I stumbled upon him by accident. The radio really sucks. Pandora is cool, perhaps the only thing that can save music, but the model is wrong. iTunes has sold 10 billion songs since 2003, but made negligible money (on the songs) doing so. Music in the advertising business used to be very important. Now, most music on TV and radio ads is created by the algorithm.
The music business has been mismanaged and mislead. It will come back — but Lady Gaga at $.99 a song will not do it. And it will never be where it once was. As art become replaced by engineering, we lose our humanity note by note. The roots backlash will help the arts but it could get ugly. Peace.