The Future of Publishing: Lessons from the Music Industry

Something writers should know

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: the Economist

I often argue that we can learn a lot from the music industry. Namely, I see it as an indicator as to what to expect in a few years’ time.

That’s why I was intrigued by a recent article in the Economist, detailing the state of today’s music.

CDs vs Digital

Once upon a time, record-industry executives could all but weigh their profits on scales. Literally: each pallet of compact discs (CDs) they sold translated into predictable quantities of cash for them and, second, for singers and songwriters.

In 1999, the year the music-sharing service Napster was founded, wholesale revenues in the industry peaked at $23.7 billion. Then they began a slide that has since continued almost without interruption.

Until now.Growth in the digital streaming of music helped industry revenues to expand by 3.2%, to $15 billion, last year. That was

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