Welcome to the Music Industry, 2011: Records Don't Sell, Touring Can Make Bank, and Major Labels Are (Mostly) Useless

For whatever reason, today seems to be the day that the music industry

reminds us that it's still in total upheaval. Soundscan tells us that

relatively few people actually bought music in 2010, unless they were fans of Eminem and Katy

Perry. Dave Matthews spent the last 10 years collecting $500 million dollars

from non-stop touring. And The Beatles get their iTunes royalties paid

directly to them from Apple, which is unprecedented. Doom and

gloom forecasts aren't new, but today's onslaught of news is

proof that any effort to salvage the existing business model might

ultimately be futile.

Sure, major record labels have been in decline for awhile, due to their inability to anticipate future industry trends. And independent artists have

been finding new ways to subvert the majors every day. But this onslaught of

news about the world's biggest musicians is a hefty reminder that major

labels are only becoming more irrelevant by the day. Here's why:

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