We Need More Keynotes Like This – Ian Rogers

Ian Rogers recently gave the Keynote address at the GRAMMY Northwest MusicTech Summit… and what a Keynote address it was. Ian basically said what we music bloggers have been saying for a long time: online music does not signal the end of the music industry… rather, it signals the end of the CD industry. And you know what his reply was, to those doomsayers?…

That’s right. The guy is sticking it to the music industry straight. Head here to read a transcript of his speech (and you really should), but here are some interesting excerpts:

I don’t care.

The lamenting we read in the press is not the story of the new music business. Continuing to talk about the health of the music industry on these terms is as if we’d all been crying about the dying cassette business in 1995. The difference is that when we moved from cassette to CD the winners were the same (big companies who owned access to cash, distribution, and marketing) and the definition of winning was the same (more units sold for these big companies).

As I’ve been saying for years, the physics of the media space have changed and you shouldn’t expect the winners or even the definition of winning to stay constant, so simply looking at how iTunes replaces CDs doesn’t tell the entire story.

I see news about the health of the music industry as defined by the stock price of WMG or quarterly earnings of UMG, Sony, and EMI every day. What I don’t see, apart from a few articles on Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, is an update on how the world is changing from the artist point of view. But I tell you, when I talk to managers and artists they feel it, they feel an ability to take their careers into their own hands, to redefine what success means for them, and that is the emergence of the new music business.


Music consumption isn’t declining: iPod sales up 59% Y/Y (source: Apple), P2P filesharing volume up 35% Y/Y(source: NPD), audio streaming up 25% Y/Y (source: Accustream). And despite the endless discussions about the “pirates,” there isn’t an unwillingness to pay for music, either: 1.6B decisions to buy music in 2007, up from 1.3B in 2006 (source: Neilsen Soundscan), 40% Y/Y increase in worldwide digital music sales (source: IFPI), 8% Y/Y increase in North American concert revenue — an all-time high (source:, 40% paid an average of $5 in Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model, Nine Inch Nails self-release generates $1.6M in first week sales, includes sell out of $300 box set in first 48 hours (source:

Here’s a link to his slides from his speech, and I really suggest you follow that link earlier and read his entire speech. If you’re at all interested in the state of the music industry today, it’s well worth your time.

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