#likeminds - Chris Carey on music as a canary

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

![Chris Carey of the PRS](http://www.onemanandhisblog.com//IMG_4930 - Version 2.jpg "IMG_4930 - Version 2.jpg")

Blimey – it’s the PRS! Traditional music industry guy talking at a conference full of internet types. This should be interesting…

Data matters because it dispels myths, Chris Carey asserts. Some data: £1.4bn on recorded music in 2009 £1.5bn is Live. PRS = £0.5bn. Advertising & sponsorship? 2%.

Remember touring at a loss to support CD sales? Record companies used to pay for it! In 2004 live revenues were less than half of recorded, now live is bigger. BUT secondary ticket sales growing faster BUT so are merchandise and sales at venues.

Recorded music ended its five year decline last year – it was flat in 2009.

Long Tail theoryChris Anderson cited Rhapsody as an example. That’s a bad example, as it’s subscription sales. It’s volume data not value data.

OK, he’s here to defend the traditional music industry to some degree. He’s trying to debunk the major online thinking around music step by step. He’s trying to suggest that creator to consumer sales are largely a myth, you need a go-between to sell to iTunes, for example. Returning to the long tail, he’s showing a graph that shows that Spotify is more hit-based that the long tail model suggests. The niche 95% generate 20% of listens (Hang on, Spotify is a subscription model – the very thing he criticised Rhapsody for being in Anderson’s example). We7 is even more hit-heavy.

“I want to keep my job after this” <— bear that in mind when analysing what he says. 😉

He’s focusing very much on the big company market for music publishing. He’s quoting investment of £5m – all for one band, or split between 5?

*Gossip Girl *– they turned off free streaming of the TV show. They got a slight bump – but there as a tenfold increase in torrents of the show. Top Gear torrents increase in speed (in terms of how quickly they’re downloaded after broadcast) week on week during a  season. I Am Legend torrenting peaked when a leaked copy of the DVD hit the torrents – quality conscious pirates. Watchmen was the most torrented film in the first half of 2009. Did those people go to the cinema? Maybe – cinema offers shared experience that TV doesn’t.

(Interesting – the open**ing sessions both yesterday and today seem to be there to challenge the recieved wisdom of the web world – “free” yesterday and “pirate/paid business models” today. Intentional choice?)

Reporting Back:

Change from yesterday – the moderators are reporting back.

- We need to look forwards to changing patterns of behaviour, not just historical data.  - Connection with artists through online community or piracy can lead to sales. - Good quality content will always find an audience and be successful. - Giving things away from free eventually devalues it. Free music devalues it. - Evidence-based thinking is good. People were interesting the data shown.  - Pirating behaviour *is* consumer behaviour. The people downloading Watchmen may be the people most likely to buy the directors box set. - There may be a generational issue – the younger people still don’t want to pay for music.
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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.