By Mackenzie Fey
Back in the old days—1877 to be exact—the invention of the phonograph truly shook up the music publishing industry. This was a big disrupter to many who made a living off of the royalties earned from the printed song books and sheets. Instead of buying the sheet music to play in their homes, people now got to buy a record player and the vinyl they wanted to hear and have it instantly — no musical knowledge or skill needed! Adapting to the times, eventually music publishers found themselves getting back on their feet and suiting themselves fine off of vinyl sales and the mechanical royalties they curated. Whew.
Taking a step into modern times, things in the music industry have done another earth-shattering thing…Streaming. Dun dun dunnnn. In 2013, the technological world was introduced to platforms that allowed people anywhere and everywhere access to all of their favorite tunes without actually buying them. Basically, platforms like Apple Music and Spotify are more so digital lockers: they can hold all of your favorite songs, allowing you access to them at any point. There you can pick and choose specific songs and stream them instantaneously. What does this mean for the music industry, specifically music publishers and writers? It means very little money coming in the form of mechanical royalties (monies paid through streams).
Recently, however, there has been an increase in vinyl sales despite what’s been happening online! Millennial’s and generations of the like have resorted back to the more “aesthetically pleasing” format of listening to records. Yay! In 2016, vinyl sales reached a 25-year high, raising by 53% (Ellis-Peterson, 2017). For my music publishers out there, this isn’t too shabby. Returning to this tangible music has been good on every front: mechanical monies are coming in heavier, brick and mortar record stores have greater profits, and consumers get to enjoy the music in the best way, second to live performance. There’s something fun and exciting about going to a second-hand record store and rediscovering the music that influenced the songs we hear today.
Go grab a friend or neighbor and scavenge for a new or already-loved LP. Sit down and listen to the music that makes the world (and turn table) go ‘round!
Click below to order/preorder vinyls from Lydia Luce, Matthew Perryman Jones, and Hush Kids!