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  Category: Articles » Arts & Entertainment » Music » Article

CDs will remain the main format for years to come

By Bharat Book Bureau

Mumbai, India - July 27 – Bharat Book Bureau has added "Music Industry Market Review 2006"( to its huge collection of business market research reports.

Music may be defined romantically as 'the food of love' (Shakespeare) or more prosaically as 'sound with particular characteristics' (Wikipedia), but it is undeniably a 'vibrant artform' (Arts Council England) and one which touches more people, in more ways, than any other art form.

In commercial terms, music certainly generates a higher market value than the other arts, although a comprehensive market size for music in all its manifestations is impossible to calculate. Key Note has put a value of £3.03bn on consumer spending on music in 2005, derived from three sectors: recorded music (which accounts for the bulk of the market), live music and musical instruments. However, data for other related markets are included, such as equipment for home listening and viewing.

Recorded music dominates, but this large market is on the cusp of a technological revolution that will eventually transform the way the majority of people buy music. In 2005, most music was bought as compact disc (CD) albums — the 'single', vinyl and cassette having already become minor sectors — but 'legal downloading', although still in its infancy, is accelerating rapidly. Key Note forecasts that, by 2010, legal downloading will account for more than a third of consumer spending on recorded music, although the time-lag while older consumers get used to the new technology will mean that CDs will remain the main format for years to come.

Recent growth in recorded products has also come from music on digital versatile disc (DVD), which are rapidly replacing videocassettes, and this marks a shift towards a more 'visual' appreciation of music and its performers. Young consumers are spending more time accessing music through their computers or televisions, having been brought up on MTV and other music channels in the new digital media environment of multi-channel television and radio. Although radio is now peripheral to television in terms of media consumption, the fact remains that music dominates radio output, and the two are self-reliant.

In television, music plays a lesser role, but the popularity of talent shows such as Pop Idol and The X Factor has served to raise the profile of music, if only at the level of 'karaoke culture'. According to original research conducted for this Key Note Market Review, nearly half the population say they enjoy singing and one in four are able to play a musical instrument (with a musical instrument available to be played in 44% of UK homes).

Amateur participation in music is on the increase generally and one in five adults describe music as their 'main hobby'. However, despite the interest in music, only 18% of adults go to concerts regularly, and Key Note believes there is great potential for the live music market. Encouragement for live events comes from public funders, such as the Art Councils, although funding is biased towards the more intellectual or minority types of music (classical, jazz and world music).

In mainstream music, recording and marketing are now dominated by just four 'majors' worldwide, one of which is the UK's own giant record company, EMI Group PLC. The other majors are Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, based in the US, and Sony BMG, a Japanese/German joint venture only created in 2004.

One of EMI's major strengths is its historic catalogue of recordings — and copyrights — which includes The Beatles and many other enduring acts of the last century. Although the music headlines tend to be dominated by new artists — for example, the Arctic Monkeys, whose first album shot to number one in 2006 — the fact is that most people's music tastes are fairly conservative and are rooted in the music they grew up with. Key Note's survey of artists that the public would take to a 'desert island' was topped by Abba, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Madonna, although Beethoven came fifth.
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