Reality Check: Buzzfeed’s “32 Incredibly Depressing Popular Music Facts”

Buzzfeed’s article: “32 Incredibly Depressing Popular Music Facts” seems to me to be a perfect example of when you just need to scratch below the surface to get the true story, which I believe is anything but depressing.

What's the record industry's beef?
What’s the record industry’s beef?

They sub-head their article with: “And it’s All Our Fault”. Yes it’s all our fault that we’re buying more music? isn’t that good?

These figures kind of fly in the face of the notion that the Internet and piracy are killing the music industry. What is the beef really about?

Maybe the grump expressed by Kimberley Dadds is that she simply finds the music of the past much better then current music. This is the old, “things aren’t what they used to be”.

These music sales comparisons, made between time periods as different in consistency as meat is from gravy, i.e. before and after the Internet’s globalisation of music, simply show how many more people will hear new music, how it can be bought instantly from anywhere and enjoyed in so many different mediums.

Click here for Buzzfeed’s article

My response:

1. In the time of Elvis and the Beatles, people could only get music on vinyl.

2. They’d only buy a record if they could afford a record player at home.

Apparently the most depressing fact according to Buzzfeed: "Ke$ha’s single “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles or Nirvana single."
Apparently the most depressing fact according to Buzzfeed: “Ke$ha’s single “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles or Nirvana single.”

3. The only way to buy a record was via some kind of transport to some kind of record shop.

4. The only radio stations people would hear would be those they could pick up on the airwaves that reached their wireless.

5. Hard cash was required to buy music. The proportion of buyers’ disposable income would require more research.

6. In the heyday of Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley and the Kinks, people still needed to hear a song on radio, have a music player at home and have the transport and disposable to get to a shop to buy music.

7. Before the Internet, many people around the world would not even have heard of Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks or Bob Marley, let alone hear their music or get access to buy recordings of it.

8. The global population keeps multiplying.

9. Perhaps many more musicians of any stature played more of their own material live, probably much more often, performances of which could only be heard by those who had paid to go to the concert. Even with the equipment available today, many live performances are nothing like as good on TV as live.

10. It could be depressing if a much smaller percentage of people reached by music today were bothered with it. If figures could be found to make this comparison, maybe the quality of musical acts back then and now could be compared.

In conclusion, I think the amount of record sales as reported by Buzzfeed are good news for musicians, retailers and record companies today. Surely it would be depressing if it were the other way round?

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