Recently on CNN I saw an interview about the troubled EMI record company. Some interesting data came up which I would like to share.
30% of the signed artists at artists never produced an album.
EMI spent $140 mi a year on acts that never make money.
85% of new artists signed at EMI make a loss.
Back catalogues (old records to you and me) like those by Iron Maiden, Nora Jones, Robbie Williams and the Beatles make up the majority of the income for the company.
In 2007 their highest selling album was Love by The Beatles.
Their highest performing publishing act last year was Boyoncé.
So where does the new artist and EMI make their money? It doesn't appear to be through record sales.
Modesty apart, I've been hammering this nail home for some time as can be seen in articles that I have posted on the internet on sites like oursongs.com.
Since downloading music has become so popular, even blasé, the business model for record companies needed to change. EMI now recognizes this.
The old business model was to sell music and use the presentations as a promotion tool for the record.
The new business model is to make money from shows and merchandizing with the record playing the role as a promotions tool. An advert, if you will, of the show.
The way forward for a new artist is to market their music initially on a local level where they are available to perform live and sell merch and to expand naturally by region to make a solid fan base where the listener will watch and enjoy a live performance.
The internet unfortunately doesn't allow the artist to do this as at the moment it's difficult to perform on the internet to earn so they can sustain their musical project. Nobody will travel from Japan to the UK to watch your performance in the local club, noe would you travel to Japan to perform for a handfull of people.
However one shouldn't rule out the possiblity of a new market for online shows where the artist performs live and sells online "tickets" in the form of a password to have access to the image and sound of their performance.
For the time being though the way forward in making a living as a performing artist is to is to sell shows and sub-products.