Music sales rise for first time in over a decade - KMSP-TV

Music sales rise for first time in over a decade

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When it comes to buying music online, there are a lot of questions about how it can be shared and whether artists can survive on digital sales -- but music sales are on the rise.

Only the copyright owner -- usually the artist behind the song -- has the exclusive rights to copy music, so it's a legal violation for buyers to copy music they purchase and pass it on to friends. Yet, while piracy is still a big concern for many musicians, new numbers suggest the industry is adjusting to the online boom.

For the first time in more than a decade, music sales are up. Even though the increase is just 3 percent, that's the first upturn since Napster hit the scene in 1999, and the news may just be music to musicians' ears.

"A lot of people, for whatever reason, sort of think, 'Well, music comes out of the radio, so it must be free,'" said Paul Bezilla, an entertainment lawyer.

Bezilla told FOX 9 News he believes the industry is in the middle of an evolution, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy for those belting out the tunes.

"You have to sell a lot of units to break even, essentially, and then start making money," he explained. "Most artists nowadays are making most of their money from touring."

In a digital age where iTunes and Amazon dominate online sales, local singers say the Internet is every artist's ally.

"It's required of any artist worth their salt in this day and age," said Martin Devany, a singer and songwriter.

Even though piracy is still a problem, most musicians say they're well aware it won't just go away.

"It's a concern of all of ours -- and probably all of us have been subject to it," said Devany. "It's just an unfortunate reality."

Yet, those who don't buy online are also fueling sales. At the Electric Fetus, vinyl sales are up 30 percent over the past three years as CD sales continue a steady decline.

"We're seeing new customers coming in again," said Manager Bob Fuch. "We're seeing younger customers, older customers feeling rejuvenated by the vinyl sales."

But even the Electric Fetus isn't immune to the electronic advances, and that's why Fuch agrees that one key to making sales is making a friend out of the web.

"We sell digital music on our website," he said. "So, it's actually a decent website, but it's really hard to compete with millions and millions of dollars of advertising from iTunes."

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