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I’m not sure it’s ever been ‘bad’ at all, to be honest… CD sales are declining, but digital music costs so much less to manufacture and distribute that the crossover point between lower sales but increased profits will hit eventually. Hard copies are still a desired way of ‘showing allegiance’ to a band, over just downloading. Merch is doing well, gigs are doing well, and the potential for new acts finding an audience without gambling a fortune is marvellous.
It also seems to me that the decline in bit torrent traffic for music may actually be that a lot of the early adoptors have filled in their catalogue with all the stuff they wanted to start with… Anyone wanting to ‘replace’ their vinyl collection may well have downloaded gigabytes if not terabytes of music to get all the Led Zep, Queen, MJ, Abba and Beatles they ever need – check out last.fm’s charts for more on how much music listening is ‘legacy’ based…
So, there are a whole range of ways that people find music, replace music, download music, pay for music things. They’re all happening, it’s mostly good news, and we can stop worrying, yes? 🙂