A few more thoughts on my previous post on the music industry. These are really just furthering some of the ideas in that post, rather than providing new ones. Here goes:
1) Musicians are been summarily dropped into the lower middle class. Even though they’re labor has great cultural value (it is the central aesthetic element organizing entire generations of people) it has increasingly less economic value. In this sense musicians are facing the same problems of the “working-middle” or lower-middle class: Production is less expensive to do owing to digital-informational technological innovations, which means that workers must perform more work but get paid less for their work than was the case just a decade ago.
2) So musicians must record and release more music (often distributing it themselves, another form of labor, and designing their own promotion outlets, yet another form of labor), but their recordings (the fruits of their labor) are worth less and less.
3) Moreover, there are fewer and fewer musicians who may survive on this model. Just like other laborers in the working-middle, there are less work-opportunities for musicians, and the ones who do manage to work must work longer and harder than before. Production up, pay down. Or what pundits on CNBC like to call “the jobless recovery” – the fact that businesses are coming out of the Great Recession by demanding more of their laborers, without actually hiring more laborers.