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Digital music: Just amazing

Whether you’re a digital-music fan yourself or the parent of one or two, it might help to have a current snapshot of the online music scene. Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot thoughtfully presented the big picture over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s an amazing scene, and not just for the music industry, scrambling to deal with the sea changes. Greg writes about how “convenience is paramount,” with artists “creating music at increasingly lower costs in their own homes and distributing it over the Internet” and with consumers “listening to that music anywhere, anytime on wireless portable devices.” Cellphones are becoming music-sharing and video-viewing devices the computers have been. “Record stores” and the mainstream music biz are floundering, but the digital-music numbers are astounding – e.g., “more than 251 million digital tracks have been sold, compared to 96 million last year, a 160% increase” and “digital album sales have jumped to 11 million from 3.4 million, a whopping 226% spike.” Then there’s Warner Music’s new all-digital label, Cordless Recordings, and for independent musicians, adding “35,000 new releases annually.” Derek Sivers, the founder of CDBaby and a musician himself, estimates that at least 100,000 new digital albums are produced each year. Don’t miss what Greg writes about the implications of all this. Meanwhile, European youth still have quite a taste for illegal music, CNET reports.

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