Tuesday, 23 de April de 2024 ISSN 1519-7670 - Ano 24 - nº 1284

O apocalipse cultural que não aconteceu

Quem desmitifica toda a polêmica mundial em torno de um esperado colapso da produção artística mundial na era da internet é o escritor Steven Johnson, autor dos best sellers Emergência , De Onde vem as Boas Ideias e o mais recente Como Chegamos Até Aqui (todos traduzidos ao português).

Com base em estatísticas e vários estudos de caso, Johnson mostra que as previsões apocalípticas feitas em julho de 2000 pelo baterista da banda metálica Lars Ulrich não se consumaram. Ulrich dizia que se todo mundo pudesse baixar musicas gratuitamente na internet, os artistas morreriam de fome. O artigo que recomendamos foi publicado pelo jornal The New York Times e mostra que muitas bandas de rock, por exemplo, transformaram a distribuição grátis de músicas numa ferramenta de marketing para promoção de mega shows ao vivo.

Reproduzimos abaixo dois parágrafos (em inglês) do texto produzido por Steven Johnson:

The record industry’s collapse is real and well documented. Even after Napster shut down in 2002, music piracy continued to grow: According to the Recording Industry Association of America, 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded from 2004 to 2009. American consumers paid for only 37 percent of the music they acquired in 2009. Artists report that royalties from streaming services like Spotify or Pandora are a tiny fraction of what they used to see from traditional album sales. The global music industry peaked just before Napster’s debut, during the heyday of CD sales, when it reaped what would amount today to almost $60 billion in revenue. Now the industry worldwide reports roughly $15 billion in revenue from recorded music, a financial Armageddon even if you consider that CDs are much more expensive to produce and distribute than digital tracks. With such a steep decline, how can the average songwriter or musician be doing better in the post-­Napster era? And why does there seem to be more musicians than ever?

Part of the answer is that the decline in recorded-­music revenue has been accompanied by an increase in revenues from live music. In 1999, when Britney Spears ruled the airwaves, the music business took in around $10 billion in live-­music revenue internationally; in 2014, live music generated almost $30 billion in revenue, according to data assembled from multiple sources by the live-music service Songkick. Starting in the early 1980s, average ticket prices for concerts closely followed the rise in overall consumer prices until the mid-1990s, when ticket prices suddenly took off: From 1997 to 2012, average ticket prices rose 150 percent, while consumer prices grew less than 100 percent. It’s elemental economics: As one good — recorded music — becomes ubiquitous, its price plummets, while another good that is by definition scarce (seeing a musician play a live performance) grows in value. Moreover, as file-­sharing and iTunes and Spotify have driven down the price of music, they have also made it far easier to envelop your life with a kind of permanent soundtrack, all of which drives awareness of the musicians and encourages fans to check them out in concert. Recorded music, then, becomes a kind of marketing expense for the main event of live shows.

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