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The New Era of Music

Susan Murray

August 2, 2016
Susan Murray

Yesterday I heard that the last brick-and-mortar store that sells CDs and DVDs in Center-City, Philadelphia will close its doors at the end of the summer. For about a minute, I felt a wave of nostalgia –until I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I bought a CD or DVD, let alone the last time I walked into a “record” store to browse.

If you need more proof of just how digital we are today, the music business provides a stunning illustration of how swiftly technology can change the landscape of an entire industry.

According to a story earlier this year in the New York Times, CD sales generated $9.4 billion in sales in 2006, but only $1.5 billion last year. In less than a decade, sales declined more than 80%, downloads are falling too.

The industry’s biggest source of revenue? Streaming. Subscription services and ad-supported on-demand streams such as Pandora and YouTube, are taking over the industry. While the music industry continues to promote paid subscriptions like Spotify, ad-supported services and internet radio present effective opportunities for marketers to communicate with targeted audiences in personalized listening/watching experiences.

Pandora reports that it has 80 million listeners a month. iHeartRadio has 85 million registered users. YouTube has over a billion users. People listen anytime, anywhere, on many, many devices. These numbers illustrate how more and more people choose to consume music and represent great audience reach potential. For advertisers and marketing pros, the audience targeting capabilities of on-demand services – geography, demographics, interests, lifestyle, and more – allow us to communicate with our audiences efficiently and effectively.

I think I may take a look through my albums and CDs and reminisce about the old days…