A decade ago there was no iPod, YouTube, Myspace, Facebook or Apple iTunes store. The traditional music industry has been utterly ripped apart by the impact of technology and social media. The Internet has created a seismic shift in many facets of the music industry and consumers experience of music was changed by the digital age. Most of what we take for granted in the music business today is brand new and a decade from now, the industry will be very different than it is today.
Music is now available in more places than ever before. Demand for all its forms is multiplying with every iPod and cell phone sold, every new TV show or game that debuts and every new technology platform that’s developed.
Technological developments of recent decades revolutionized and democratized the process of music creation and production. Nowadays a vast array of tools and services covering every imaginable application are available to help musicians promote, distribute and sell their music. The public wants access to music of their choice through a growing number of ways, means and formats. If technology has leveled the playing field to the point that musicians can “do it all themselves” one might wonder? Why sign with a record label when it’s cheap and easy to get your music on iTunes? Why hire a publicist when you’ve got Twitter? Who needs a booking agent when you can create a following on YouTube?
While it’s fair to say that musicians’ access to the marketplace has greatly improved when compared with the music industry of yore, with its bottlenecks and gatekeepers one has to carefully balance and evaluate various parameters before reaching a decision. Can really a creator function as his own publisher, manager, booking agent, attorney, publicist, social marketing manager and technologist and still find the time and energy to create music?
We live in a networked society where everything is interconnected. In this new ecosystem we can’t exist by ourselves and the idea that we could by controlling production, marketing and distribution as we used to, proves to be a dangerous illusion. The idea of not licensing and being part of all sorts of collaborations with brands, telecoms, device makers and advertisers is one that we can't afford. We have to give permission to try things and keep in mind that if we ask too early for too much we risk killing innovation.
In our digitally connected world options abound and "getting distribution" is no longer a challenge. Now it's a matter of "getting heard." How do you cut through the clutter and reach an audience? How can you make your ding in the musical universe where millions of aspiring creators and artists compete around the clock for the holy grail of the audience's attention?
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