Are the days of holding a platinum record as a sign of a recording artist’s sign of success over? Not quite yet, but they’re assuredly getting there. In a few years the music industry won’t be able to judge success simply on the basis of record sales, there’s simply too many avenues in which fans can get their hands on music. The internet allows people to download songs and albums, plus many fans purchase ringtones at alarming rates. Combined, record sales just aren’t enough to tell if someone is a success or not. Here’s a deeper look at the other avenues that have opened up for musicians to make their millions.
“Experts” and everyone with a voice had deemed the latest generation of adolescence and young adults the “YouTube generation,” “The MySpace generation,” and countless other unflattering names that all revolve around the use of the website as a source for information. The internet is also the easiest place to get and listen to music. Unlike the radio where you have a shot in the dark of hearing your favorite song, people can set up their own playlists online and avoid anything they’d rather not hear. Digital downloads of albums and singles are so high that the RIAA has begun to recognize them, such as Gwen Steffani’s Hollaback Girl which attained over one million downloads.
With the ease of access of the internet and so many people utilizing mp3 players rather than CD Players, it’s only a matter of time before downloads begins to overtake record sales and the establishment of what makes a musician successful is altered.
The success of ringtones is much more surprising when put alongside digital downloads. The price of a ringtone when compared to that of the actual single is roughly three times as much, yet millions of downloads of ringtones are recorded each year. MIMS, who debut album barely managed to scratch the 200,000 mark would be considered an unsuccessful release when put up alongside previous years. However, when ringtones are taken into consideration it’s easy to see just how successful his music really is.
MIMS hit single “This is Why I’m Hot” managed to attract over 2 million downloads as a ringtone. Ringtones generally sell for around $2.99 to $3.99 depending upon the song. Two million downloads at $3.50 each is remarkably close to a $15 album that manages to go gold ($7 million to $7.5 million). That alone is enough to show just how skewed the current idea of success when it comes to judging success.
Get ready to say goodbye to the old ways that apply to music success and usher in the use of downloads, ringtones and every other form of digital media or the internet.