The music business...doing great?

The music business is dying. Or is it? If you look at all revenues, the pie may be growing. Maybe the music business isn't dying, it's just evolving, and recorded music is just becoming the loss leader that fuels the engine.

The longest, loudest boom is in live music. Between 1999 and 2009 concert-ticket sales in America tripled in value, from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion.

It is not that more people are going to concerts. Rather, they are paying more to get in. In 1996 a ticket to one of America’s top 100 concert tours cost $25.81, according to Pollstar, a research firm that tracks the market. If prices had increased in line with inflation, the average ticket would have cost $35.30 last year. In fact it cost $62.57. Well-known acts charge much more. Leading musicians have also, by roundabout means, seized a larger share of the mysterious “service