Tag Archives: Music Industry
Once 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.
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.
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!
However, 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?
It is obvious that over the past twenty years the landscape of the music industry has fundamentally changed with:
- The invention of the internet (decades earlier) spawning the world wide “web” and the social mobile web we use today.
- The rapid rise of the mp3 as the web standard for music sharing.
- The transition of full-length albums to music singles.
- The plummeting cost associated with creating professional sound recordings.
- New software and hardware that removes many of the technical barriers associated with creating great songs and music videos.
- A new generation (or two) under the age of about 30 who accepts that free music has become the model for consumption.
- Social networks giving artist access to an array of promotional/ publicity services, and music professionals in the industry.
- Social media bringing back the word of mouth ole school peer to peer networks on steroids.
Welcome 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.
“I’ll quit my job, we’ll head out west” are lyrics Howard Jennings wrote in his song “Around the World.” These lyrics are actually taken quite literally by Howard, who took the chance of a lifetime and entered the music industry.
I normally don’t feel short at concerts, but standing next to a red-headed giant of a man, Howard sure made me feel four feet tall. I was at IOTA in Arlington, VA – outside of Washington D.C., to see the Damnwells on tour to promote their new album. I was checking out shirts at the merch table in the back, when I noticed Howard who seemed nervous, but anxious and was setting up merchandise for himself and the other artists he was touring with.
Dylan For Virgins is a regular DIY music podcast which reviews the works of independent artists. Each episode we feature one song of the independent artist reviewed and provide helpful tips and tricks of the music industry that work for all performers in all genres. Aside from the music business, we also tell stories that have helped us as musicians in performances all around North America, and fascinating musical stories from great musical legends; from Bob Dylan, to Jimi Hendrix.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into music, as well as the other creative hobbies you have?
Oh, untold hoards of loving readers, I guess this is sort of like goodbye. After five years of life in the sticky, smoky trenches of music journalism, I’m hanging up my hat and paddling my canoe in the direction of uncharted waters. Enough banal metaphor usage for you? Ya, for me, too.
I know that I don’t have to worry about you once I’m gone, loving readers. The webosphere is so full of smart, eloquent folks writing about music that I know you won’t suffer from any shortage of information or half-baked ranting. I am, on the other hand, a bit concerned about what’s going to happen to the music industry once my back is turned.
State of the Tune-ion
Things are looking a bit shaky these days. While I’ve enjoyed guiding you through the collapse of the major label-dominated music industry, the glittering digital phoenix that has risen from its ashes isn’t exactly everything it’s promised to be.
While professional-grade recording equipment has become accessible to all, it’s also created a production scene ripe for manipulation by middlemen who promise much to aspiring artists, but deliver little.