The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) is a trade association for the music industry. NARM and digitalmusic.org, NARM’s sister organization, hold a convention each year. This year’s convention, Music Biz 2013, is being held in Los Angeles. The convention brings together every part of the music business including retailers, record labels, distributors, and start-ups, to discuss issues within the industry, share ideas, and learn about how the industry is evolving.
Being part of a trade association has given me a whole new outlook on the music industry. I’ve learned about several different fields I could see myself working in that I wasn’t even aware existed prior to my internship. I am continuing to learn about issues that are coming about as digital platforms are taking over. Music is changing from a unit based economy to a subscription based economy. Instead of buying albums or even singles, consumers are spending their money on subscriptions like those offered by Pandora and Spotify.
A huge issue in the music and recording industry is piracy. This has been an ongoing problem for years with countless companies and organizations tying to solve the problem. Since streaming subscription based listening are on the rise, it’s piracy isn’t really necessary to access the music you want. Spotify even uses this point in their promotion for Spotify and Spotify Premium. Why do something illegal when you can have the same result legally with less work? With Spotify, a user can look up almost any song they can imagine and listen to it for free. And you can log into Spotify on any computer so you can have it at work, at home, on your laptop, or on any computer you use. Anywhere. For a small fee users can even have this song wherever they go on their smartphone with Spotify Premium. Paying $10 for all the music you could want seems minimal compared to the countless hours you could spend downloading all the songs you want, syncing them to all your devices, and organizing the metadata (title, artist, album info).
Interning at NARM, I have learned about the issues being worked on in the music industry and the digital platforms that are arising, changing the way consumers interact with music. The understanding I have gained from this experience gives me a strong base to build a career.