The Music Development for the Last 50 Years

The Music Development for the Last 50 Years

The Music Development for the Last 50 Years

The Music scene, just like everything else, has developed so much over the last 50 years or so. Over the past half a century, people have been listening to their favourite artists and songs using a wide range of popular mediums such as LPs and cassettes and then CDs. However, these mediums have become less and less popular as the years have progressed. Nevertheless, please understand that we are not suggesting that the more recent mediums such as CDs are completely ‘dead’ and forgotten, but it cannot be denied that they are less relevant today than they were a decade or so ago. For example, in 2004, 30 billion CDs were sold worldwide and by 2007, this figure had risen to an estimated 200 billion. However, by 2010, sales of CDs had dropped by around 50%. It is more than likely that this percentage has increased to around 70% in the past six years.


What Has Caused This?

The answer to this question is simple: technology. If we want to be more precise: the rise of the internet and the invention of Digital Audio Players and mobile phones. Nowadays, all the music you could ever wish for is available to you via a few clicks of a mouse and, once it has downloaded, you can simply stick it onto your MP3/MP4 player, iPod or mobile phone etc. The transferring of music from a computer to a digital device is so easy that even our mothers, who have got to be the least technologically gifted people we know, have mastered it. Therefore, why would anyone bother to buy a CD of a band/artist that they like when they can download it at home for a fraction of a cost (or even download it for free)? To add to this, CDs can take up a load of space in your house or apartment, whereas you can fit loads of songs on most digital devices.

So, How Do Artists Make Any Money?

Therefore, if no one is buying CDs anymore, how do artists make their money? Below you can see a few ways by which artists can make money nowadays.


Spotify – This is a site where people can come and stream their favourite songs. Every time a song is streamed, the band/artist who sings it will be paid somewhere between $0.006 and $0.0084. This might not seem like much, but the band/artist can earn a lot of money. For example, in 2014, Taylor Swift earned between $280k – 390k as her song “Shake It Off” was streamed 46.3 million times. Therefore, artists can make money by allowing their songs to be placed in the Spotify library or on streaming sites such as Pandora and Deezer. Spotify helps to bring billions of dollars to the music industry every year.

iTunes – Artists can put their music on iTunes and every time someone buys one of their songs or their album, they get to keep around 70% of the revenue. It is estimated that many artists will get $6.00 – 7.00 per album sold and 60-70 cents per song. An alternative to iTunes is Bandcamp.

Live Shows – Money made from gigs can vary greatly; however, it is still one of the best ways to earn money. Not only will you get money from ticket sales, but you can also sell merchandise at the same time. Big stars can make anywhere between $200k-400 (maybe even more) per concert.