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In the first decades of the 2000s, the music industry underwent drastic changes with the advent of widespread digital distribution of music via the Internet (which includes both illegal file sharing of songs and legal music purchases in online music stores).

A conspicuous indicator of these changes is total music sales: since 2000, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially while live music has increased in importance.

In 2011, the largest recorded music retailer in the world was now a digital, Internet-based platform operated by a computer company: Apple Inc.’s online iTunes Store. (Wikipedia)

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The modern Western music industry emerged between the 1930s and 1950s, when records replaced sheet music as the most important product in the music business.

In the commercial world, “the recording industry”–a reference to recording performances of songs and pieces and selling the recordings–began to be used as a loose synonym for “the music industry”.

 

In the 2000s, a majority of the music market is controlled by three major corporate labels: the French-owned Universal Music Group, the Japanese-owned Sony Music Entertainment and the US-owned Warner Music Group. Labels outside of these three major labels are referred to as independent labels (or “indies”).

The largest portion of the live music market for concerts and tours is controlled by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of iHeartMedia Inc, which is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States.

The music industry consists of the companies and individuals that earn money by creating new songs and pieces and selling live concerts and shows, audio and video recordings, compositions and sheet music, and the organisations and associations that aid and represent creators. (Wikipedia)

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