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The small new future of music

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Festivals like ATP [All Tomorrow’s Parties] are the best PR for the increasingly successful business model of selling eclectic music made by and for people who actually like it. There are a host of like-minded events targeted to the dedicated fan of niche sounds. The Coachella festival of Indio, California, has become a pilgrimage for followers of cult favorites and rising international acts. Bonnaroo of Manchester, Tennessee, has roots in the jam-band scene but an open-ended vision. …

These are but a few of the signs that the record business is coming to grips with a small new future. That doesn’t mean the industry’s overall revenues will shrink, nor that record sales will go down. Right now, record sales are plainly rising…. They’re just not rising in the ways we’ve become accustomed to — the biggest, most famous artists are no longer posting ever more impressive sales figures. Suddenly, there are more and more records selling 10,000 to 500,000 copies each year, and less and less selling 1 million to 10 million. To put it simply, the patterns that used to govern sales no longer work. The industry’s biggest successes are now small ones.

Some good observations from an indie music festival across the pond in the UK.

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