Due to innovative technological advances, music distribution in the industry has completely changed in the last decade. Just as we moved from 8-track tapes to cassette tapes and then cassette tapes to compact discs, most people today are listening to albums on MP3 files. Consumers are using portable music devices and smartphones to download music from iTunes and other digital music stores. No longer is music distributed in analog form; only digital.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this remodel of music distribution. One example is that digital distribution meets demand immediately. This lessens the burden of producing too much or too little product to meet consumers’ needs. William Fisher writes that under the compact disc system, “record companies must guess how many copies of each CD consumers will demand.” Distributing your product digitally combats that problem.
Another advantage is the wider audience you will reach by making your music available online. Accessibility is very important to an artist’s success in this technological age. Fans can instantly download music in the comfort of their homes. Consumers can discover new music with streaming services suggestions.
The other side of streaming services is that music industry insiders complain that it negatively affects music sales. Sales reports have recorded that “revenue from recorded music” fell by 3.9 percent from the past year. Ben Sisario writes that streaming revenue continues to increase in spite of physical CD sales declining.
Many music lovers have argued that the purity of the sound suffers with digital production a bit. Lots of fans believe vinyl is warmer than digital MP3 files. Which is why a lot of artists have decided to release music digitally remastered. While that debate continues to be on the table, digital sales steadily climb. It is clear the digital distribution is here to stay.