News vs Clicks – 25th November 2019

Are some regional newspapers getting their news values in a twist? Posting stories with little or no news value just to chase clicks or commercial revenues, makes Jon Griffin wonder what has become of the industry he entered over 40 years ago.

“Every second or third word in the newsroom seemed to be ‘Facebook’. To directly quote one of the senior Burton Mail journalists: “We should not be writing anything that we cannot Facebook.”

Or: “There is no point doing things if it is not going to hit Google, otherwise we are not going to get the numbers.” Or: “I hate to say the P word.” A common newsroom mantra was: “How can we make this work on the web?” Stories were judged for ‘doing well’, in other words, clicks.”

The Great Music Industry Power Shift – June 4th, 2014

“The long drawn out demise of recorded music revenue is well documented, as is the story of artists, labels and managers all trying to make sense of a world in which music sales can no longer be counted upon.  But the contraction of recorded revenue has occurred at the exact same time that the live music sector has undergone a renaissance.  The net effect, when coupled with publishing revenue holding its own and  the growth of albeit modest, merchandise revenue, is that the global music industry has largely held its own, contracting by just 3% between 2000 and 2013 (see figure).  Compare and contrast with the 41% decline in (retail) recorded music revenue over the same period.  Indeed it is the 60% growth in live revenue that has done most to offset the impact of declining music sales.”

Recorded music is still the main way people interact with music:  Whether it be on the radio, YouTube, Spotify, an iTunes or a CD, the vast majority of consumers spend the vast majority of their music consumption time with the recorded product not the live product.  In fact just 15% of people regularly go to gigs.  And even for these consumers live is, in terms of total time spent, just a small fraction of their music consumption.  So labels are faced with paradox of making less money from artists yet those same artists still needing the recording in order to drive live and merch income.  This is why we ended up with 360 deals.”

Much of the market growth didn’t make it down to artists: The live music value chain is an incredibly complex one with multiple stakeholders taking their share (ticketing, secondary ticketing, venues, booking agents, promoters, tax, expenses etc.).  The share of live revenue that artists make from live has declined every year since 2000.  The impact on the total market is that  total artist income (i.e. from all revenue sources) has declined every year too since 2009.”

Views From a Small City’s Music Scene by Jude Clarke, 20 March 2014. A few interesting points that may also be applied to Birmingham.

“People frequently talk about “the music business” like it is some huge, cohesive behemoth. A “thing”, an entity to be railed against or admired, to be aspired to or despised. Of course, though, when you break it down, The Music Business is as many different things as there are people with musical aspirations, with many different nooks and crannies, a multiplicity of wide vistas and dark corners, and as many unsung heroes whittling away at its edges as there are big name superstars making the headlines.

By focussing in on some of the outer edges of “the business”, with just a small and not even comprehensive look at some of the musical activity taking place in one reasonably small city outside of London, we’ve lifted up a few of those stones and shone a few lights into the corners. Want to get involved in the music business? Some of these dedicated folks might provide you with a little inspiration for some of the more tangential ways you could get involved.”

Robin Valk writes a blog called Radio To Go. He has published an ebook called Survivors and it contains some interesting stories about local bands and artists. Here’s the link to the Amazon page for Robin’s ebook

IFPI and RIAA 2013 Music Sales Figures – There are positive signs but overall they make for troubling reading. Total sales were down 3.9%.  Based on 2012 numbers the trend suggested that 2013 revenues should have registered a 2% growth, so that is a -6% swing in momentum. Digital grew by 4.3% which was not enough to offset the impact of declining CD sales, which has been the story every year since 2000 except last. Download sales declined by 1%. Continued competition from apps and other entertainment, coupled with subscriptions poaching the most valuable download buyers is finally taking its toll. Subscriptions up by 51%: An impressively strong year for subscriptions but not enough to make the digital increase bigger than the physical decline on a global basis nor in key markets, including the US. Read it in all in full here

The Death of the Long Tail: MUSICIANS MUST READ: 1% of Artists earn 77% of the income…..

Progress Report on Implementation: Destination Birmingham (Birmingham, A Music City) Video and PDF available.

Parliamentary debate on the future of Arts, Creative & Cultural Industries – the first debate in the House of Commons on arts and culture in over five years took place on 19th June. Given the huge economic and cultural value the sector generates, how important to the government is the future? Maybe the clue is in the massive turn out (See picture) . Some valuable arguments were raised, including the BBC representation of regional broadcast production and investment to the Midlands.

Does Birmingham punch below its weight? Research and recommendations for growth of the Independent Music Sector in Birmingham by Councillor Ernie Hendricks, James Burkmar, Kevin D’Costa

Birmingham: How to kill a city – The Economist  – Britain’s planning laws all too often restrict and prevent investment which might create economic growth. It is worth remembering occasionally that things were once much worse. For proof of that, see this fascinating post on Birmingham’s economy in the 1950s and 1960s, by Henry Overman, of the LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre. It’s worth reading. A shorter version here:

Regional bias? Perish forbid! How could anyone even think it?: There are many reasons to bemoan the huge loss of broadcasting jobs in the Midlands. The best is simple economics, but a bit of fair play wouldn’t hurt. The Midlands region pays more license fees, but sees less BBC spending, than any other region. As far as the Midlands media industry is concerned, it’s not even a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. You can’t shut a door that’s been smashed to pieces and left hanging off its hinges. by Robin Valk – Radio To Go: Music, Musicians, Music Business and Radio stories.

Destination Birmingham: Birmingham, A Music City by Philip Parkin – 2011 UK Music report, ‘Destination UK’, was the ‘most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the power of music as a tourist draw’ and the first of its kind to quantify the economic value of ‘music tourism’ to the country’s regions. It also laid down a challenge to public bodies, locally and nationally, to ‘realise the potential of this considerable economic asset’.

Download Destination Birmingham Report PDF

Mark from Iron Man Records on Funding Creativity, Birmingham and A Thousand Envelopes

60% of musicians worked for free in past year

Mark from Iron Man Records on Birmingham, Music, The Internet, Do it yourself & Doing It properly.

Musoplex film opinions on Music in the West Midlands

‘Playing on a Level Playing Field’ – by Jim Mawdsley

Andy Derrick on Why Birmingham Music Network should be funded by A.W.M.

UK Music are looking for established music businesses who have approached banks for business finance. UK Music would like to make a case to the Government on behalf of the industry to request additional support in dealing with banks. If you have been successful in obtaining finance for your business from the banks, UK Music would still like to hear from you as they would like to present a number of case studies.

Mark from Iron Man Records interviewed by Katy Jay at Musoplex March 2010
Mark talks about Police Bastard, Tape Trading and life before file-sharing and the Internet, touring with a band on a budget you can stick under a glass, the idea of giving bands a small amount of help at a critical time, Robert Lloyd and The Nightingales, how the label got involved with Seth and Dufus and he talks about his own band called Last Under The Sun.

Birmingham needs a ‘music tsar’ says councillor by Neil Elkes Jan 31st 2012

Birmingham will Break Your Art – Pete Ashton makes a personal comment on the state of affairs in Birmingham in 2011.

The Music Network invites people with an active role within Birmingham’s Independent Music Industry to answer Another 10 questions. The questions have no deadline for submission, the questions will be open to anyone to answer at any time. You thoughts and opinions are welcome. Completed submissions will be published at unless you state otherwise. Please include your Name, brief biography or information about who you are and what you do, and links to your website or blog. You will be credited as the author of the response. Views from all sides are sought so don’t be afraid to speak your mind. We may learn something. Submission by email send to: info at – Thank You.

10 Questions for Birmingham’s Independent Music Industry (by Birmingham Music Network January 2010)

Another 10 Questions for Birmingham’s Independent Music Industry (by Birmingham Music Network October 2011)

10 Answers by Andy Derrick – Andy Derrick has supplied 10 Answers to Another 10 Questions for Birmingham’s Independent Music Industry.

Ten Questions from 2010 have been answered by: Andy Derrick, Keisha Thompson, Jon Cotton, Pam Bishop, Andy Roberts, Ben Calvert.

Another Ten Questions from 2011 have been answered by Andy Derrick

Destination: Music – the first study of its kind to scope the economic contribution of music festivals and major concerts to tourism throughout the UK published by UK Music (May 2011)

How can Government help creative entrepreneurs? What questions would you ask Policy Advisors on this issue?


The people who control the Funding are damaging the Creative Industries in The West Midlands by Anthony J Hughes

Your Darkest Thought. State Funding and Music, You have been warned. by Mark Iron Man Records (20th June 2007)

Birmingham Twinned with Your Darkest Thought? by Mark Birmingham Music Network (10th November 2008)

A Year later – Perspectives on the West Midlands Music Industry – Scott Roe, Solar Creations

What is your view of the West Midlands’ music industry? by Mark Iron Man Records

A Vision for the Music Industry in the West Midlands by Clare Edwards June 2008

Another view of the West Midlands’ music industry and FUNDING by Andy Ward

Countercultural Capital & the Creative Economy – How do 1990s DiY Music ‘Entrepreneurs’ talk about the contemporary music business?” by Charlotte Bedford 2008

Funding the Creative Industries by Andy Derrick 13th Feb 2009

The Scottish Music Industry Association(SMIA) – launched at Go North conference

Redefining the Music Industry – A public consultation on the future shape, needs, direction and ambitions of the music industry.

National Survey and Mapping Exercise assessing provision & scope of music support work across UK 2009

How does Iron Man Records choose it’s artists and how does it promote them?

your comments please…..