For the past few months I’ve been fairly active on certain music forums. It amazes me the wealth of information that can be found and shared. Last week I talked about how baffled I was by people who still believe in a system or model that, in my mind, is obsolete and irrelevant in today’s digital world. However someone suggested I read a post by David C Lowery (from bands Cracker and Camper van Beethoven) in order to get a different perspective on things. I also read a counter-argument by Mike Masnick of TechDirt. Both make valid points; I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. However I’d like to discuss this idea of the ‘new’ model. Here are several points which I routinely articulate in order to justify my enthusiasm:
This all sounds like great news…for the new artist. However I’ve realized that it’s not so great for the artist that has achieved a moderate level of success. This artist has years of experience in the business, knows the ins-and-outs, and worked hard to be where they are today. However they’re suddenly faced with an influx of new artists which offer their products and services for FREE! They’re also getting little compensation from streaming services and everyone is asking for free music (Hey they’re doing it so why aren’t you?). What used to work no longer does and the audience is becoming more demanding and giving less. If I were in their shoes, I’d be pissed! Why aren’t people paying for music anymore? And why do some people think that it’s ok to not compensate artists for their art?
I believe that any business (and that includes music) is like a game, and the best players rise to the top. The game rarely changes, but when it does you need to adapt…and quick! Even the most successful artists aren’t necessarily the best musicians and singers, but they might be excellent at marketing themselves and using the available tools efficiently (Lady Gaga’s use of social media is a great example of this). Playing the game doesn’t necessarily translate to selling your soul…you just need to know about the rules in order to figure out what would work best for you. If people aren’t paying for music anymore, what are they spending their money on? An advantage that all musicians share is that people love music, and always will. It’s up to us to figure out new and innovative ways of sharing our passion with them and making a decent living as well.
Play the game or it plays you (Taken with instagram)