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Content by Duane Charles

The Fate of the Music Industry – A Musician’s Bedtime Story

the web wizardOnce upon a time, there was brilliant and wonderful wizard who created a magical technology called the internet. The great minds of the time were so excited about the new technology, they decided to join forces and work together in harmony, for the good of the people. There job; to make the internet accessible to the working class and to discover a new way of connecting villages throughout the land. The collection of great minds hailed their breakthrough as, The World Wide Web.

Just as the great technologies before it, many artisans, musicians, craftsmen and businessmen saw great opportunity for wealth, at a time when there was none. They created games, digital music boxes, moving pictures, and knowledge gateways. They launched magnificent and wondrous portals into the human experience. A wave of renaissance spread through the land as the people shared technology and ideas. There was a long and prosperous period when a vast number of new businesses and people flourished. In time, many businessmen grew wealthy beyond their dreams.

Top 50 influential independent and underground hip hop artists/rappers 2012 and Beyond

underground hip hopIt doesn’t matter where you hang out on the web, when it comes to news about your favorite artist, somebody has got it covered. Whether it is a new album release, new tattoo, haircut, fashion miss, who is dating who or an artist embroiled in controversy; the web is really good at getting it in your face – all the time!

But if you part of the growing segment of the population looking for alternatives other than mainstream entertainment, you have to do a little digging.

The best underground hip hop artists?

Well, finding them is not as easy as going to your neighborhood iTunes and picking them out from a ready made list. One must seek out the experts/gurus/enthusiasts in the niche music blogosphere, forums, boards and popular social media channels. The journey doesn’t end there. Why? Because each expert has a different opinion or opposing view on who is who on the web. Lists vary from one site expert to the next.

Freelance Photographers with a Passion for Live Event, Band and Concert Music Photography

live music concert photographerJust think, a good photograph can make or break whether people will like you, follow you, hire you, feature your music in a magazine, or even just stay on your website long enough to check out your music or read your bio.

Does your image tell a story? Does it portray your artist brand and music accurately? Is it compelling? Does it speak to your music?

Artists will always need photos for general use on the web, press articles, profiles, websites, album arts, promotional shots etc;

Finding just the right music photographer who understands this… and can also bring that conceptual mind image to life while feeding life into your brand should be a top of your to do list as an artist.

To get you started I scoured the web in search of music photographers who are passionate about what they do and specialize in this field. It is a work in progress, but I will continue to add to the list as I go along. If you know of someone who belongs on this list and has their own website, feel free to contact me  music_admin (at) gighive dot com

Is music more important than the quality of your artist brand?

music brand scaleIs this a trick question?

I asked my brother (artist/songwriter/producer) the same question a couple weeks ago and without hesitation he voiced music. Logically he gave a perfectly valid and rational answer. If an artist’s music is top notch, fans should instantly take notice and through word of mouth and social media channels will soon be rewarded with a huge following. Right!

Wrong! The problem with that scenario is… we are not ‘logical’ creatures at all. And at times we can be led astray by our emotions and senses. Our irrational thoughts and behavior can sometimes border on insanity. To make the ends justify the means, we will force 1+1 to equal 3. If we believe it to be so, then damned to anyone who says otherwise!

It would be like trying to explain Ms. Kardashian’s brand. Logically it shouldn’t exist, but love it or hate it; she believed in it enough to be so.

What is the reason? Soon the why and the reason are gone and all that matters is the feeling. This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it; but it is of course a lie. Beneath our poised appearance we are completely out of control.

Music Producers Leading a Revival in the Music Industry

Interest in the music production arts, recording technology (software and hardware) and artist branding is at an all time high and is slowly revitalizing ‘music making’ in the industry.

It’s hardly unexpected when you think about it. The old model was based on control. The powers that be purposely limited things on the supply side, which naturally increased demand for new music by a handful of branded artists and bands.

The result…limit the supply and human nature kicks into high gear. We instinctively want a piece of what we can’t have! Scarcity rules!

stage dive - chaosHowever, digital music changed this and for the past 10 years there has been a veritable online digital orgy of the masses converging on new technology to become the next big thing or simply get hands in on a small piece of the free pie. And to the dismay of powers that be, you can’t limit supply in a digital world.

Eventually the laws of economics (supply and demand) decided to crash the party, bringing order back from the grips of chaos. Now in an oversaturated market, where much of the music has very little value (or is free), many artists are now faced with a conundrum. How do we make music profitable again?

What is the Future of the Music Industry? Or is it Already Here?

It is obvious that over the past twenty years the landscape of the music industry has fundamentally changed with:

  1. The invention of the internet (decades earlier) spawning the world wide “web” and the social mobile web we use today.
  2. The rapid rise of the mp3 as the web standard for music sharing.
  3. The transition of full-length albums to music singles.
  4. The plummeting cost associated with creating professional sound recordings.
  5. New software and hardware that removes many of the technical barriers associated with creating great songs and music videos.
  6. A new generation (or two) under the age of about 30 who accepts that free music has become the model for consumption.
  7. Social networks giving artist access to an array of promotional/ publicity services, and music professionals in the industry.
  8. Social media bringing back the word of mouth ole school peer to peer networks on steroids.

future of music industryWelcome to the future of music where we are now experiencing the birth of a DIY music generation of artists who will only be bound by the limits of the imagination, and are free to create and market music in entirely new ways.

So You Are Multi Talented Music Artist – Choose Your Passion Wisely

choose your career pathThis post is directed at the growing number of multi-skilled music artists among us who choose to direct much of their energy and skills to additional music talents. Although being multi-talented maybe necessary at the beginning of ones musical career, it will one day come down to choosing one. Choose your passion wisely.

What questions do we ask ourselves when deciding which career path to pursue? Music offers many possibilities, and part of the challenge in finding our way is recognizing opportunities as they present themselves. Then we must decide what is right for us.

Gone are the days of minimal opportunities for the musically talented. Now each music career path chosen can be as unique as the artists themselves. The problem is not the lack of opportunities, but the ease in which new artists can market, produce and distribute their own music and talents on a global scale.

Which means every Johnnie’s uncle/cousin on daddy’s side of the family can sing into a mic, record vocals with some backing tracks and have it uploaded to the internet by days end. If Johnnie’s cousin happens to be a better marketer than you, then it is more likely he will garner more exposure than you.

Top 5 tips indie music artists should follow when building their brand online

Building a brand is the single most important skill a music artist, indie label or band should learn if they intend to promote their works to a larger audience. Thanks to the internet, and the growing popularity of social media, artist branding is much less complicated than it was… say maybe 10 years ago.

your brandRegardless of the type of artist you may be, we all need to understand the importance of branding to stand out from the crowd. To do that, we must take lessons from the corporate brands and recognize how we connect and promote online is a direct reflection of how others see our own brands.

If independent artists are a truly in the game as free agents and ballers, then it’s time we started playing like it.

So here is my top 5 list of things to get you pointed in the right direction.

Longevity

Be ready to be in for the long haul. It takes years to build a solid reputation as a recognized and successful brand. The branding process itself isn’t complicated, but it will require patience and perseverance to effectively accomplish your goals. You have to be unyielding and persistence in your efforts every day. If you are not up to the task, know that many of your competitors will be, and more than willing to pass you by.