Is the Live Music Industry Being Hurt by Digital Downloading?

By: Megan Morian


Record sales are down, and digital download rates are through the roof. With the more and more recent trend of music consumers choosing online downloads over buying physical records in a store, are people going to stop going to see live music as well? I mean, everything you could want to see is on the computer, through Apple’s iTunes Store,, or other sites, right? You can watch concert clips, music videos, artist interviews, and listen to music online. You can take music and videos with you where ever you go on your iPod. Could this lead to the destruction of the live music industry? My answer is no. Not now, and not ever.


Despite lagging record sales and booming download rates, despite being able to see and listen to all your music all the time on laptops and iPods, people are still going to see live music. It is all about the experience; it is the action, the spontaneity, and the eardrum-pounding fun that you can’t get from a computer screen or headphones that continues to drive fans to local venues to see their favorite musicians live. From an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, came this example:


“Taylor Swift is a great artist development story that started as organically as you can in the digital age,” said Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of her label, Big Machine Records. “It involved online, non-stop radio tours and strategic TV opportunities which led to non-stop touring. But — most importantly — Taylor connected with her fans like no other artist in 2008.”

Click here to read the full article by John Gerome.


Musicians connect with their audience through live shows. After seeing them play their hearts out, shaking our souls with the music we can’t get enough of, it is then that we go online and find out more about them, download their music, and buy tickets to see them again. The live music industry can only be helped by the digital era. Artists that take advantage of the easy access to fans through online routes will find themselves overwhelmed by larger crowds and more applause at each show.


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