The Future Of The Music Business: How To Succeed With The New Digital Technologies Steve Gordon 362 pages (second edition) ISBN: 00331939 paper Hal Leonard 2008
Much has been written about the steady decline of CD sales and the rise of illegal downloading. The record industry has scrambled for a solution, only to alienate many of its customers with lawsuits targeting everyone accused of file sharing from students to grandmothers. None of this has stemmed the tide of illegal downloading.
Steve Gordon's The Future Of The Music Business addresses the problems the music industry faces and offers up some possible solutions. This second edition updates the reader on recent technologies and how they can benefit musicians and entrepreneurs. Additionally, the book comes with a CD-ROM that includes interviews, internet resources and up to the minute updates on the book.
Gordon begins with the basics of music law and how the new digital technologies fit in. He explains the new ways consumers discover and procure music such as webcasting, downloading and interactive streaming. Gordon believes that the record industry's refusal to adapt to and accept newer technologies has cost labels and their artists dearly. He illustrates how various lawsuits have done nothing to stop illegal downloading. In fact, this practice has only increased since 2000. He presents blanket licensing fees, as employed by performing rights societies, as one possible solution to the problem. With a blanket fee, consumers would pay a yearly (or monthly) flat fee to gain access to music on the internet. He points out that publishing-sector bodies such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are not beset by the same financial woes that record companies face.
Gordon concludes with ideas for artists promoting their music on the internet. He includes interviews with musicians using new technology to advance their careers, such as Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun and jazz musician Dave Samuels. He also devotes chapters to artists who have started their own record companies, online record stores and video webcasting.
An entertainment lawyer by profession, Gordon has written a book that, of necessity, is filled with legal terminology and dry business concepts. That being said, he makes these ideas accessible and easy to understand. The Future Of The Music Business is an important read for anyone associated with the music industry. As the fate of many record companies hang in the balance, their future literally depends on it.