Music recording industry is witnessing a transition phase with the advent of digital technologies. Popularity of digital music is steadily growing with online songs, including mobile music spreading fast across the globe. Physical album sales have declined over the years, as a result of increasing adoption of digital music. Global music recording industry although saddled by issues such as music piracy, and illegal content sharing, continues to live on with players in this traditional media industry befriending the much feared digital technology in their efforts to change and remain relevant in a changing marketplace. Interestingly, new recording studios have been established in recent years as a result of companies leveraging the digital technology. Traditional recording companies have embraced digital music recording in a big way, and today digital recording accounts for a major portion of revenues generated by the recording industry, followed by physical recording on CD DVD, and other physical formats. In line with the trend, online music licensing by the record companies is also shooting up.
Music industry has always been plagued by piracy issues. Violation of intellectual property rights in the form of music piracy is especially a major issue with digital music. Music piracy runs amok in the industry with numerous fly by night hackers’, armed with fast optical drives, large and cost-effective storages in PC’s, powerful microprocessors, and wide spread access to broadband Internet, illegally downloading copyrighted music tracks. Increase in peer-to-peer network services, which allow surfers to copy songs, and movies without having to pay for legally obtaining such content only compounded the problem of illegal downloads further. Even the most stringent copyright protection regulations and anti-piracy laws that the music industry has initiated for addressing challenges posed by these services have not been able to completely eliminate piracy in this marketplace.
However, innovations in technology and online distribution strategies have to some extent helped reduce the instances of illegal copying and sharing of files thus helping drive legitimate music sales over the last few years. “˜iTunes’, Apple’s online distribution format for instance, presents optimum defenses against illegal downloading of music through peer-to-peer networks. Apple’s first defense against attempted piracy is the configuration of the service in a manner that disallows transfer of songs from the internet onto CD-ROM, and other playback devices, and simultaneously puts a spoke in piracy through a speed bump. Astute pricing strategy established by the company offers single tracks, and a complete album for almost the same price. Apple’s iTunes additionally allows users to create unencrypted MP3 versions of music tracks, thereby enhancing the online music download experience of legitimate users. This, thereby, reinforces the importance of curbing piracy in order to elevate the industry’s legitimate sales. To stem the evil of illegal downloading of digital content establishment of a foolproof legal system is a must.
Cloud technology is also making its mark in the music industry, allowing music lovers to store and access their own collection of tracks or even access a catalogue of music tracks owned by a service provider from a dedicated online space over the Internet. In addition, cloud services reduce the user’s worries of interoperability of files, as the service providers ensure the universal playability of the tracks. Introduction of several licensed cloud based music services will help boost market prospects for the recording industry over the next few years.