Music Industry 58

This article is written by web designer Josh Gutteridge who runs Skyte Media. Skyte Media is based in the Midlands (England) and is a professional web design company that specialises in web design and development. Josh would like to receive comments about this article on his blog. But of course you can comment it also here, on!

How Has the Internet Affected the Music Industry?

Music has always been something that has inspired mankind. Sir Thomas Beecham once said ‘a musicologist is a man who can read music but can’t hear it’. The pure beauty of music is that we can all listen to the same notes played by many different instruments, yet make our own individual conclusions with regards to what the music means to us; and nobody can argue.

It is not in the nature of this post to go in depth on musical history. Nonetheless, music has developed rapidly through the ages with the vinyl when it was first really used in 1948 by Columbia Records. Since then the music industry has seen the use of the Audio-Cassette and Compact Disc (CD).

Consequently, since the internet became more widely available it has made music more easily accessed by such means as Online Music Stores. There are thousands of these stores online including three of the most famous: iTunes, Napster and Rhapsody (US only). Let’s focus in on iTunes; an offshoot of the Apple Company.

I refer to iTunes as the ‘pied piper of the 21st century’ lulling people into easily downloading content with minimal hassle. iTunes is a free piece of software developed by the Apple company at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. This allows you to download digital music, music videos, television shows, iPod games, audio books, various pod casts and in the USA feature length films, and ringtones. Downloaded content can then be used to create your own play lists and personalised albums to burn to CD. It can also be transferred onto various different types of iPod including the new iPhone making music more accessible and easy to get hold of.

How does this affect the ordinary person who enjoys listening to their preferred genre(s) of music?

In this case, music has never been so easily manipulated and accessible. We live in a convenience obsessed world with personalised portals such as Last FM where you can listen to any artist known to mankind, you can listen to personalised internet radio with Pandora and also listen to all the music and view the videos on YouTube. It doesn’t take much effort to rip music (ripping is the term for digital audio extraction). The cost of downloading an album from the net is generally cheaper than an album brought in the shops, after all, downloads should cost less as there are less overheads for the record label to pay for: CD sleeve, CD case, CD cost, copying equipment etc.

How does this affect the music industry?

Some artists find the concept of the internet hard to adapt to; however, as they are forced into the mould of technology modern artists tend to embrace the internet as a friend rather than a foe. They view it as a ‘creative and inspiration-enhancing workspace where they can communicate, collaborate, and promote their work’ – Mary Madden (Research Specialist) in her project ‘Artists, Musicians and the Internet’. Sites such as MySpace have helped Artists and Musicians address their target audience rousing more interest in their style of music.

But let’s face it; there will always be people that are looking to find a loophole. I’m talking about those who engage in illegal music downloading. Experts admit that illegal downloads will never be stopped. This messes up the system and makes it unfair for both the artist and the people who are paying for downloads. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has joined forces with the Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) to take legal action against internet file-sharers.

How will illegal downloader’s effect record labels? A record label makes, distributes and markets sound recordings; basically at the end of the day they’re out there to make money. The music industry produce mainly alums…how many albums have you brought just because you like one song? I have! We’re forced to buy albums to get the songs we love. As sales figures are falling record labels will be forced to look at the logic. Are people going to buy a whole album or just download one song? What effects do you think this will bring? Might we see a rise in the cost of internet downloads?

So in conclusion we have seen that the music industry has created stronger ties with new technology over the past decades and now can only go forward. We have seen that internet music downloads can be both an advantage and a disadvantage as we see the battle between the illegal downloader and the record companies continues. However, it is safe to conclude people – adapt or die!

Leave a Comment:
  • ChristianOlsen 10 February, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Internet affects a lot to the music now music can reach to the vast majority of people and music industry can sell album through online.

  • Zac 13 February, 2012 at 3:44 am

    The world has changed. People no longer watch TV sitcoms on tv, or listen to music on their radio or hi-fi. Evolution of ipod, iphone and more affordable PC has changed consumer behavior. Hence, it is not just internet. The devices also played a huge part to the music industry.

  • Remsie 24 February, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I believe it has gotten better for the end consumer, because talent is now more accessible.
    Remsie recently posted..Steps to recording your vocals for professional results, with beatsMy Profile

  • Will Marion
    1 March, 2012 at 2:46 am

    This is a very informative article. I personally have found the internet to be an instrumental part of my music career.

  • Will Marion
    1 March, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I would also like to say that the professionalism of todays indie bands is fantastic. The ability to self record and self promote are increasing by leaps and bounds. The major record labels are in a downward spiral. Of course this is my opinion. What do I know. Lol.

  • Matt Clarke 4 March, 2012 at 9:12 am

    The internet is the best thing that could have happened to the music business. It has democratized the music world to the point where anyone can record, promote and sell their music online. We just need more platforms like this site who give coverage and support to independent artists and music can keep innovating and moving forward. The big record labels are ‘entertainment companies’ and are not interested in doing anything original. Leave them to it I say, and be creative and entrepreneurial with your own music.
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  • Russ Robinson 7 March, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Great write-up! The proliferation of music on the internet has resulted in the almost complete decentralization of the industry, and now requires artists to do most of the legwork themselves (labels don’t have the cash to pour into artist development). However, the good side is that finding success is a little more accessible to folks who otherwise might never have had a chance.
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  • kdiggy 7 March, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Well, adapt or die is very accurate. Now the musician is responsible for promoting their own music, also since illegal downloading one must turn to the T.V. business model like youtube & pandora are doing by putting commercials in…
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  • Deborah E
    8 March, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Great post on the advantages and disadvantages of music on the internet. I have to say that I do miss the days of going to buy CDs (and vinyls!) and looking through the discount bins to see what treasures I could find, even for a $1 discount! lol
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  • Jeesica
    30 March, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Its been long I haven’t buy any CD not even for my CAR.

    Its Good on the consumer end but its adversely affect the Music Industry and if this keeps on then I am afraid that we will stop getting new and Good music

  • Sarah Reece 31 March, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I agree with the advent of internet, music and artists of all genres have become more accessible to common man. But we cannot ignore the music piracy that has increased manifold and its effect on music industry. Hundreds of Thousands of people download copyrighted songs illegally everyday, while the download of just a single song may seem not so serious an offense, but we should look at the accumulative impact of all this – which is certainly very huge.
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  • Ruth Stewart 19 April, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I think that as are only able to control our own decisions, we make we make good ones that help the music industry, rather than decisions (like illegal downloads) that harm it. That way we can show real appreciation of the music industry.
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  • Download Mp3 For Free 21 April, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    yeah, thanks for remember me … i like it … thumbs up for u …

  • Aaron 6 May, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Diminishing Music industry showed sudden surge in demand after introduction of ipods, itunes and such softwares. Definitely internet has become a medium which transformed music industry to make it reach to billions of people from a single place. Artists nowadays make their websites just to earn revenues from there too.

  • Claire 9 May, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Hundreds of Thousands of people download copyrighted songs illegally everyday, while the download of just a single song may seem not so serious an offense, but we should look at the accumulative impact of all this – which is certainly very huge.
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  • Barry 11 May, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Definitely internet has become a medium which transformed music industry to make it reach to billions of people from a single place. Artists nowadays make their websites just to earn revenues from there too.
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  • Jake
    14 May, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I think that the music industry has been both positively and negatively affected. Of course piracy has become more popular, but it has helped smaller bands to attract more interest in a shorter amount of time. The internet has definitely had a big impact on it either way.
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  • asseenontv 23 May, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Music and internet is definitely an interest of mine. Paul Graham has written a great post about defining property in the internet age. He relates it to music and is a great read.

  • Manuel Marino
    20 August, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Internet is a real impressive tool for promotion, and first of all for low budget projects and bands. Of course, if you have money, doors open everywhere, but small bands have a different life. The real community and promotion service for independent artists was ten years ago, but it has been crushed and similar services are no more. If you find anything similar, please post the link here and we can discuss more.
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  • Franky Jones 24 August, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I think the internet enabled many more people to live off their music. Sure there are tons of illegal downloads. But when you think in case of some beat makers or beat producers it really helped them to make a move forward. Moreover the number of illegal downloads is shrinking. People start to buy what they like again.

  • Zack 25 August, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Franky Jones
    I think the internet enabled many more people to live off their music. Sure there are tons of illegal downloads. But when you think in case of some beat makers or beat producers it really helped them to make a move forward. Moreover the number of illegal downloads is shrinking. People start to buy what they like again.

    I have to agree that the internet opened a lot of new markets for indies in general ( bands or single composers in their basement ). Among those markets i can see the need for music for videos, video games and background music for web sites.

  • Andrea Timmins 27 August, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Zack from Stock music

    Franky Jones
    I think the internet enabled many more people to live off their music. Sure there are tons of illegal downloads. But when you think in case of some beat makers or beat producers it really helped them to make a move forward. Moreover the number of illegal downloads is shrinking. People start to buy what they like again.

    I have to agree that the internet opened a lot of new markets for indies in general ( bands or single composers in their basement ). Among those markets i can see the need for music for videos, video games and background music for web sites.

    Indeed, in the voice over industry, it is possible to record for anyone over the internet. While this opens the worldwide market, it also increases the competition. Also, because of a lower barrier to entry, unfortunately, many of the new “talents” are of lesser quality.

  • Happy 30 August, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information.The Life and Music Series post is really inspiring. I have a really high perception to people who do what they love to do. I am happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Manuel Marino
    28 September, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Andrea, I don’t agree. I mean, having more options and a lower barrier to entry doesn’t mean the quality is lower. In the past there were higher barriers but consider also the huge amount of recommendations and nepotism necessary 😀 Now musicians and singers are free! It’s like a music revolution and internet made all of this possible.
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  • Mic man 18 November, 2012 at 1:30 am

    I really think that the dynamic of “where music comes from” is even changing. I love that we live in a time where creating music is just so accessible to people. You don’t need a $50k studio to make something cool.
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  • Graeme 20 November, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I think the internet means less money for artists although it has let me promote music in a better way so there are pros and cons I suppose.

  • Leslie Edwards 25 May, 2013 at 2:45 am

    The internet has greately influenced the music industry. I think that because of the internet, people aren’t looking into getting into record companies anymore but selling their own music online.
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  • Manuel Marino
    20 July, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    using internet doesn’t mean there’s less money for the artists, simply there are different channels to market your music, different from the traditional channels of the past

    but of course since there are more musicians than ever, the resources are scarce for each single artist.
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  • Zeem
    21 July, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    It is the year 2013 and the world has changed. The internet has changed a lot of things about the music industry. It is now very easy for musicians to create and sell their own music. I have read stories of guys who just produce their own music, put it on iTunes and began to sell their stuff. Their video on YouTube helped too. At we make effort to help artists promote their works by spreading the news about their creations.
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  • Gone are the days of stopping by the music store to search for a title that may or may not even be in stock and choosing a format that may be compatible with only one of several listening devices. Now a music lover has only to visit a website to download an MP3 file that can be played on just about any device a person owns: PC, laptop, phone, car stereo, and the list goes on.

  • Manuel Marino
    24 September, 2013 at 2:16 am

    unfortunately, gone are those days, except for few music lovers and their preferred music store next home. But thanks to vinyls there’s still a music collecting entire world ready to be explored.
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  • Amber
    24 October, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Record labels will be out of business in 20 years. An independent music artist now has the ability to reach out to more fans through the internet then ever before plus has a chance of making more in the end since they are eliminating the record company if they market themselves right.

  • Manuel Marino
    4 February, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I’m not sure record labels will be out of business, but probably they’ll change how they deal with artists, they will transform for sure and adapt to this new digital world that is growing so fast.
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  • Paul
    17 February, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I believe that at the moment, it’s a toss up where you could argue that the Internet has affected music for the better OR worse overall.

    For the worse and on one hand, I believe that the perceived value of music has plummeted between first when everyone began pirating it through torrents and services like Napster… to NOW when people have free access through Spotify and other streaming services to find whatever song they want through a couple of clicks for free. Once people realize and have it drilled into their heads that they can get music for free without any hassle through a number of methods, they see the value of it in their minds dropping. It’s rough when you consider all the time which goes into writing, then recording and producing it, to releasing it, and it can be listened to or stolen for free in seconds and cast aside. Plus no one wants physical media anymore, it’s more convenient to just have a device you can connect to the cloud.

    Conversely, the Internet has done a lot of good for artists, as well. While there is less to no money in actual recordings (unless you’re enjoying Top 40 success), the Internet has made creating exposure for artists much more possible on an indie level. Anyone can put their music out there now, and can spread awareness about new releases and perhaps more importantly live shows. The money which is still on the table for artists is predominantly in merchandise and live show ticket sales, two things which cannot be stolen in the same way their music can be. This makes it at least SEEM like anyone has a good a chance as ever to make a name for themselves in the music business, whether that’s true or not, that’s another discussion.

  • Manuel Marino
    24 May, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    internet and technology let artists to express themselves, in every part of the world. When technology is used this way, it’s a great addition to any Art.
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  • Robert Watts
    17 October, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    The internet has changed the way music is acquired. I remember the day of going to the record store and buying a “45” and a needle. My choice was “Double Dutch”. I loved this song so much I had to buy another needle to continue to enjoy it. Today I am a music producer and I am amazed at the technology that I use everyday. My wife and I produce music together and we lease downloads to artist and to film and TV. It astounds me that one file uploaded can be cloned indefinitely. In my opinion music help the artist more than hurt them, or the producer. We try our best only to use sites that use players that can not not be manipulated or have our leased content downloaded. With all the precautions taken you can not stop people from downloading.
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  • Caleb 7 November, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    spot on! I love how the music industry has changed. Especially because everybody in their own home can produce, and record professional style music now a days. and people can download it easily. The hard part is theres soooo much music out not and people are bombarded with it and nobody wants to pay the artists for it. However they will pay baaaaank to go to a live show.

    Anyways love the post!
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  • Manuel Marino
    21 November, 2014 at 2:09 am

    yes, well, at least there are the live shows so a band can earn something, but indeed in about 20 years the entire panorama changed.
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  • Manuel Marino
    21 November, 2014 at 2:14 am

    yes, and technology can’t be stopped. But indeed, digital music ruined music quality. the 44khz are an example, they are just an estimate of the real sound and mp3 ruined even more. But that’s technology.
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  • Baka'z Mann
    6 February, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I think the internet may hurt record labels, But i think it’s a great tool for independant artist to reach an audience, whom other wise They couldn’t reach! The Music Industry is changing for sure welcome to the digital age! If Record Labels Cant figure it out they will be extinct in the nxt 10-15 yrs, because artist will be able to do every thing for them selves thanks to the world wide web!!!

  • Tarik 1 March, 2015 at 5:54 am

    I came here looking for information about WSHH. iTunes wouldn’t be possible without the internet, so I think it’s silly to say it’s hurting artists. Look at what most singers made in the 80’s. Artists of today have social media following, iTunes, and ridiculous high paying contracts. They are doing better than ever.
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  • Manuel Marino
    17 March, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Hello Tarik, you are right, but consider that in the past there were more money for less artists. Today there is an impressive competition and resources are really low per artist.
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  • Alyssa 27 March, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Internet is the platform for everything now. With that comes the “old ways” that barely exist or have been transformed to the internet. Either way, if anything is to be successful in this world it now has to go through “The Internet.” Haha. I totally agree that it has only increased the range of people that music reaches, which only increases the revenue and fame of the artists.

  • Manuel Marino
    24 April, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Internet is not just a tool. I think will be completely part of the future world, like television is today, something totally and completely inside our daily life. For a musician, understanding now, how music will be part of Internet is like preparing himself for the future world.
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  • Shuja 2 June, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    What a great and well written article. This is so much valuable content. Also very detailed. Keep on writing! Thanks for sharing and kind regards.

  • cindy 15 June, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I think the internet is an advantage to the music industry. People are no longer forced to listen to repetitive music list on their local radio station. They can find good quality music even from artist that’s not that popular. Websites like, or allows you to listen and make list from any artist from all genres or status. As long as no there is no violation of the artists work it’s all good.

  • Lisa Taylor 15 June, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Seriously, internet has affected music industry in both realms. In one way it has provided accessibility to worldwide listeners but in other end piracy issues are much higher. Just like in whatsapp era, we are sharing music in our groups but do the original author gets credit is the issue that surrounds..

    Would love to hear from you more like this article. Thanks!

    Lisa taylor
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  • Chris Faze 24 July, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    The internet has changed the music industry alot, i agree. I mean you can practically download any song you want now for free on the internet. One thing that I have to say is that I do appreciate the fact that there are alot of people that are still buying music and supporting artists. It is the funding from them that helps them to continue to make the great music that we love. iTunes is still al lovely site to use for your music library and they do make it very easy and accessible to listen, download, and buy music. All in all, I hope that all of the artists and downloaders find a way to share the internet in a way that works for both the artist, record label, and consumers.
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  • Manuel Marino
    15 August, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Now there are the streaming services and paying them you support the entire music business, with just a little monthly fee.
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  • Manuel Marino
    15 August, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Lisa, in anyway there are the royalties that artists obtain. So it’s not exactly the bad scenario you think.
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  • Manuel Marino
    15 August, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Cindy, Internet is very powerful, so absolutely we can’t miss the opportunities Internet gives to artists. First of all, an easy and fast showcasing of your skills and the worldwide audience you can have.
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  • Manuel Marino
    15 August, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Thanks Shuja! This article is featured on top of the website because it is really good and also the discussion is great. Let’s continue to talk.
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  • Alex Oden
    17 August, 2015 at 12:20 am

    I think the internet has helped independent musicians trying to get their music out. On the other hand, I think it has hurt the major labels since people can just download their music online for free now.
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  • Manuel Marino
    17 August, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for your comment, Alex! Internet is a huge tool and can be used for wonderful things. But as in anything, there are two sides of the story. In any case, now we are living in the years of the music streaming services and this is something any artist and producer must understand and accept. Music streaming is amazing, I pay Apple Music, as example, which I consider the best service. At the same time I’m also an artist there, and I use Connect (Apple Music networking tool) to interact with my fans.
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  • Artem 2 September, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Well, I think since music services like spotify, itunes, etc.. are gaining massive popularity, the music piracy is slowly but firmly decreases.
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  • Mike 18 January, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    As a young kid, like many of my peers, I would pirate music. That is the most impactful change the internet has done to the industry. (I still go to shows and buy merch when I can, and now use legal streaming services to support). But also, the internet has raised my awareness about new and hidden artists to a new level. So we have to take the good with the bad i suppose.

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