April 30, 2010
Change in the Music Industry
The digital revolution and the internet age have flipped many industries on their head, but, arguably, the music business is feeling the effects the most.
How to summarise the change in the music industry? I has become immensely complicated, fragmented, and involves huge amounts of hard work. It may have involved a lot of time an energy in the past, but it used to be relatively simple; you formed a band, you get signed, your label gets AM/FM airplay, you go on tour, and people went out and bought your records. That was pretty much it for about 50 years; it was spelled out for you. Fail any of those and you fall back (at least) one step in the process and (hopefully) try again.
None of that stands today. There is no 'way' to make it. There isn't really a 'make it' anymore. 'Making it' will likely consist of selling a few thousands items that are a sideline to recording music, and simply earning a living doing something that you enjoy.
A band can / should / needs to consist of a web designer, graphic artist, marketing graduate, VC investor, manager, creative director, technology advocate and more. Without being signed you need to organise your own recording session, production and distribution, online and offline marketing strategies, photography & video sessions, press interviews and reviews, design, manufacture and sell merchandise, establish venue and promoter contacts, publish gig information, and hire any outside help with any of the above areas. You should still try to get AM/FM airplay, but also internet radio play, podcast inclusions, music blog recommendations, LastFM/Spotify/Myspace Music plays, DJ chart positions and more. Oh, and by the way.....
...you still have to write and perform your own songs, lest we forget.
As I said, the industry is now immensely fragmented. You have to research and apply your own resources. You should see this as a positive, and discover new possibilities that were never available in the old machine.
Any combination of the above could lead to fame and fortune. If you fail or ignore any part, the end result will suffer to some degree, but trying to tackle them all simultaneously (and at the same time) can be near impossible. Learning to work smart, efficient, delegating where possible and staying motivated is the key to pulling as many fragments together for the most effective results.
Still, it was always fun trying to 'make it', and at least that remains the same.
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