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The music industry


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The music industry

  1. 1. First Steps The development of the music industry first began in the mid-late 18th century, when composers such as Mozart started to look for new more effective ways of marketing their music and performances. Selling manuscripts, writing autobiographies and performing memorial concerts provided the commercial opportunities these musical artists and composers needed to gain publicity. Soon sheet music sales dominated the industry, rising alongside ‘Blackface Minstrelsy’, a racist form of make-up used by white people to portray the black community in the 19 th century.
  2. 2. The ‘Record’ Industry Music was first recorded in the late 1880’s followed by the creation of radio broadcasting in the 1920’s. Although this progression allowed music to be enjoyed by many more people and allowed more obscure artists to be appreciated live music was still incredibly popular. However, with the availability of recorded music, the sales of sheet music massively decreased, being overtaken by the record industry.
  3. 3. Digital Distribution In the 21st century the digital distribution of music became very popular proving to be a relatively hassle free method of downloading music almost anywhere. However, with this rise in popularity for digital downloads, sales of recorded music on CDs, vinyl and cassettes have fallen dramatically. The distribution of music digitally has also resulted in a rise of illegal file sharing. The widespread illegal download of music of the internet caused revenues within the music industry to fall even further. As a result many companies have been forced to take legal action against the websites allowing the illegal download of music. By including a free gift of a CD or limited material from a related band in my magazine, it could appeal to the audience as it would be free and easy for them to access without the need of finding it online and then downloading it.
  4. 4. Modern Times The modern day music industry and coinciding record labels can be broken down into subcategories that all contribute towards the production of music: Record Labels Scouting For New Artists Financing Recordings Packaging and Distribution Marketing Promotion and Publicity Record labels are all smaller organisations within the ‘parent’ record company. Record companies have the ability to reflect as many different genres as they would like to through the artists that they choose to support. This means they can use the most popular genres to create a larger profit and follow the changing trends in genre popularity. The main record companies that dominate the modern day music industry include Universal Music, Sony/BMG, EMI and Warner Music.
  5. 5. Independent (Indie) Music Independent record labels make up only a small percentage of the music market and reflect the artists that don’t have funding of the larger music corporations. This independence provided outside the funding of a major corporation allows the artist to have more freedom in what music they produce. However, some record labels, although appearing to be independent, are in fact a vanity label (a label within an existing record company that is owned by a famous artist) or even a subsidiary of a major record company. This can prove to be an advantage for the artists as they will appear to be outside the intervention of the larger music companies, which can be a selling point to some music fans. Vanity labels receive funding through affiliation with the famous artist responsible for the record label as well as the creative control and uniqueness the vanity label provides the artist with.
  6. 6. Distribution and Marketing The Internet can be used to sell traditional physical formats (Amazon), to market music recordings (social network sites), to present netcasts and live performances (video websites, YouTube), to sell music downloads (iTunes, net labels), to create official websites for artists and recording companies; these official websites can keep its viewers up-to-date with events, promotions and the opportunity for fans to connect through chat rooms, forums and blogs. Radio can promote an artist through frequent airplay and exposure on the official downloads chart, launched in 2004. Television has music channels such as MTV and 4Music promotes both the image and sound of an artist. This form of distribution is especially effective for artists with a unique selling point related to their image (Lady GaGa). The Music Press are very influential in the marketing and promotions of new artists due to their close relationship with the music industry. The way these methods of distribution aid and connect with the music industry is known as synergy and is effective in drawing in a larger audience and strengthens individual brands
  7. 7. Theoretical Concepts Adorno built his theory about culture industries around Marxist principles that by offering audiences generic products and consumer goods can maintain capitalism by diverting the publics attention from politics. The products produced by culture industries can be divided into formulaic, simplistic and emotive and were pseudoindividualistic. (aren’t as unique as they are presented to be). Peterson and Berger identified that historically popular music came from resistance to dominant ideologies and values and provided a creative outlet for people. However, music is considered to lose its authenticity when it becomes commercialised and commercialised music is non-resistant to ideologies. Music industries are primarily concerned with generating profit and therefore choose to invest in musical forms that will offer as little resistance to present to the mainstream audience. If the format is successful it will be replicated and resold. As a result the audience relies on the media for information and loses the creative element they supposedly crave. In addition they don’t have access to all the musical choices available because the industry will only invest in music that has proven to be successful before.
  8. 8. Alternative Rock Genre The genre I have decided to focus on in my music magazine is the Alternative Rock genre. This is the category I feel I know most about as it is my most listened to genre. The alternative rock genre emerged from independent music in the 1980s. The distorted guitar sounds and transgressive lyrics and a usually defiant attitude all combine to create a distinction from mainstream rock. Alternative bands commercial success is limited in comparison with other similar genres due to the fact that most of the bands within this genre are signed to independent labels and received little attention from large mainstream radios, television channels and newspapers.