The Recorded Music Industry

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The recorded music industry is currently experiencing difficulties unimaginable during the 1980s, which were a period of growth, consolidation, and technical advancement. The album sector was still strong across the industry, something that became a financial boom from the mid-80s onwards with the advent and subsequent popularity of compact discs (CD). CDs became the dominant carrier of recorded music and quickly superseded vinyl albums. This was a major fillip to record companies, as fans bought CDs of their favourite old vinyl albums, thus classic albums artists from the 60s and 70s sold substantial amounts of CD versions of their old album catalogue. As many major record companies were part of multinational electric goods companies, a valid argument can be that record companies were providing the software (CDs) for the multinationals hardware (CD players). To illustrate this point, the electrical goods giants Philips and Sony owned record companies, and as stated on the Philips’ website also collaborated in the research and development of the compact disc. The effect of owning both aspects of the process resulted in profits being monopolised by the multinationals.

The current malaise afflicting the recorded music industry can be traced to the development of digital downloads to the market. Recorded music can now be compressed and made available in a digitally transferable format known as MP3. However, due to the digital nature of the format it is easier to share
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