Recording Industry Careers Outlook
The recording industry is in a continual state of flux. New technology, new music, new markets, and new ways of doing business are constantly redefining the way the industry functions. Computer technology is simplifying the recording and mixing process while opening new outlets for creativity and distribution of music. Musicians, producers, and engineers are finding opportunities in the creation of music for Web sites and other multimedia.
Changing trends in music always keep record companies on their toes as they try to stay one step ahead of their competitors by signing the musicians and bands with the newest sound. Though rock continues to be the top-selling genre, sales have dropped for rock music in the last 10 years. By contrast, sales for rap and country music have doubled in the same time period. Women artists are continuing to be powerful forces in the music industry, as performers such as Sarah McLachlan, Beyonce, and Christina Aguilera pave the way with blockbuster sales. Opening Chinese and Latin American markets will give record companies a big boost in sales. These emerging markets have accounted for 40 percent of the growth of music sales. Yet, problems with piracy in these countries need to be controlled to avoid significant profit losses. Piracy issues also involve the Internet; the industry is concerned with digital copies of music being freely transferred over the Web, in violation of copyright laws. Internet technology has made it possible to download quality recordings quickly and easily, resulting in Web sites with whole archives of pirated recordings. CD burners are readily available, allowing people to download recordings as MP3 files and record them on CDs. Controlling piracy in the digital age is the recording industry’s biggest challenge.
A report by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated that the industry had sales of more than $11.1 billion in 2005, which is a drop of almost 8 percent from the previous year. The shipment of full-length CDs fell to 705.4 million, a decrease of 8 percent over 2004’s shipments. Full-length cassettes have become increasingly unpopular in the past decade. Cassette shipments dropped 52.6 percent between 2004 and 2005, with sales of $13.1 million in 2005. The purchase of downloadable singles and albums grew by 163.3 percent and 198.5 percent, respectively, from 2004 to 2005. Rock still makes up the strongest segment of the recording industry, accounting for more than 31 percent of sales in 2005. Rap/hip-hop, R&B/urban, country, and pop round out the top five categories, according to RIA.
In the last decade the music and recording industry has undergone dramatic consolidation. Four corporations— Universal Music Group, Warner Brothers Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and EMI—control over 80 percent of the industry. While this consolidation may be beneficial for artists under contract with these companies, it has also made it more difficult for unknown acts to break into the business.
Related Career Fields:
Related Career Cluster:
- Artist and Repertoire Workers
- Audio Recording Engineers
- Broadcast Engineers
- Composers and Arrangers
- Film and Television Directors
- Music Conductors and Directors
- Music Agents and Scouts
- Music Producers
- Music Venue Owners and Managers
- Music Video Directors and Producers
- Music Video Editors
- Pop/Rock Musicians