Supply and Demand, Not Streaming, Hurts Musicians?

Demand curve
Demand curve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an already controversial article, it is posited that the inability for many quality musicians to make a living in the arts is due to a supply / demand mismatch rather than digitization, streaming, or piracy. While I cannot say I endorse everything this guy is saying, from the stack of releases sitting next to me on my desk, I think he is on to something.

Record companies complain the Internet will destroy music. Musicians complain that they can’t make a living any more. The unsympathetic public, feeling the squeeze themselves, tell them to get a proper job. The problem isn’t piracy — it’s competition.

One reply on “Supply and Demand, Not Streaming, Hurts Musicians?”

Great little article. Although not narrowly directed at the free jazz scene, it most certainly applies to that scene. I’ve often wondered how many of those musicians are able to make a living; the economics don’t make sense. It must be that they have lawyer wives or investment broker husbands to pay the bills and support the lifestyle. One thing that the article did not directly mention but has puzzled/annoyed me are musicians who like to “document” every wheeze, grunt, bang, or blink of their musical odyssey. Used to be that a musician might put out 2 studio albums in a year and be considered prolific. Now, with the ease of digitization, there seems an unending stream of fresh releases of CDs (an anomaly in itself). Who is buying? And can they be buying in such amounts as provide an adequate income? Perhaps like the Missouri River, their support is an inch deep and a mile wide.

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