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Is The Music Industry Dead Yet?

JurassicWith the recent news of GarageBand.com, the indie music store, discovery /review service and online community, discontinuing its services as of July 15th, 2010, after 10 years catering to artists and indie music fans alike.., I am left to ponder the fate of the music industry once again.

The latest news – worldwide sales of recorded music fell by another 10% in the last year, digital piracy is still on the rise; accounting for a 30 percent decline in global music sales from 2004 to 2009 and digital services are not enough to stem the tide of falling compact discs sales …

Wow! The industry is a mess and still, it continues to adhere to the same business model and practices it ushered in a century ago. Why? And why are they not dead yet?

Is it at least on its last leg?

Well, every morning when I get online or take time to listen to the radio, flick on television or flip open the pages of a newspaper, the same dinosaurs that are supposedly becoming extinct, are still  running rampant and eating everything in site.

Internet Songwriting

EmailBefore the days of internet – becoming a successful songwriter depended on a whole different set of factors. For example, as a non-performing songwriter, you would have needed to go out and find an artist or band willing to record your song, or have a music publisher get a cover for you.

As a performing artist, you would at least have had a vehicle for your songs subject of course to whether you or your band had a record deal.

A great deal of the “ifs and buts” of success would have depended not just on the commercial potential of your song, but on who was out there promoting for you, and how much marketing power your music publisher or record company (if you were an artist), had. Of course, much of that still applies today. So why has the internet had such an enormous impact on song writing, commercial recordings and tons of other commodities? I can tell you. Two things: digital, and distribution.

Coming Up in the Midwest Hip Hop Scene

DJ N.K. talks production, entrepreneurship, and the driving force behind S.E.Dub.

NK Glaze Black & WhiteOver the summer, one of our feature artists here on TheBuzz, Milwaukee’s own DJ N.K., released his latest album, Branded by the Struggle. As a DJ, producer, rapper, and merchandiser, N.K. knows what it’s like to build and manage a successful independent career as a musician. We caught up with him to see how album sales were going, and to get his insider perspective on what it takes to grow within, and beyond, a tough midwestern market.

SW: Last time we spoke to you, you had just released Branded by the Struggle. How has promotion of the album been going since then?

NK: Actually, it’s just been local but getting GREAT responses and sales. Reason being that I decided to shoot a video for the single “Go Hard” and my distributor suggested we update the DVD, which is included with the album, and then release it into major retail outlets since we had a fresh video to help market and promote the album.

If you don’t live in Wisconsin, and you wanna get a limited edition, order from myspace.com/nkonline now!

The Musician Enablers

Support and help can be a funny thing. If some one offers to help someone, most would hope that they are helping to get that person moving forward to a better place, closer to success. Or perhaps delivering some of the tools or resources (including, yes, money) that will lead to bigger and better things. However, there are those that become enablers. Their intentions are good, but they may end up hurting more than they help.

enable artists with cashEveryone has heard the old joke, “what do you call a drummer with no girlfriend? Homeless!” It’s funny but also, in a number of cases, true. There are numerous aspiring musicians that are supported by their family, their girlfriends, their boyfriends and plenty of others when it comes to money. That is not always a bad thing. If communication is good, if expectations are clear, and the guidelines for support are set in place before a dollar changes hands, that help can be worth its weight in gold. That help can bring the artist to the next level if they are struggling. It can make things a little easier. It’s not a golden ticket, it’s not a back door from paying dues and learning invaluable lessons. It simply makes a long hard road a little easier for a few miles.

Pianist Klay D-C Weaves Fusion Rhythms with Ritmo

klaycoverRaised in the 60s by free-spirited artists living like gypsies in picturesque locations like Cheyene Walk, Chelsea or Cornwall, Klay D-C (AKA Klay Dumas-Copas) is a master of creating musical tapestries that are full of flavor and life. His latest solo release, Ritmo, is a magical musical journey that combines technical prowess with an ear for colorful melodies.

A natural story-teller, the first track, “Mungabunga,” introduces us to a soft acoustic piano before blossoming into a wiggy, upbeat number garnished with salsa rhythms. The totally unexpected arrangement dances between the acoustic piano and electric instruments (guitar and bass) in a melodic tease that excites and intoxicates.

Successfully Marketing Music With Twitter

twitterThe typical musician spends much of their time being musically creative and so a lot of musicians that should be using Twitter to market their music just aren’t sure where to start or how to use it to its full potential.

So, to help out those that could be using Twitter more effectively I’ve listed some things you could be doing to market your music, whether you are a DJ, band, music producer, promoter or even if you have a podcast to promote.

Luckily, Twitter is simple and easy. The only work that really needs putting in is a little thought and some time on a regular basis. Hopefully that makes you feel a little better.