Noemie Savoie

Singer-Songwriter | Electropop music
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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 Last week I talked about how baffled I was by people who still believe in a system or model that, in my mind, is obsolete and irrelevant in today’s digital world.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:

  1. Getting our music out there: It used to be that artists needed to send their demos and press kits to numerous labels in the hope that one would show enough interest to offer them a record deal. Demos could be very expensive since many were recorded in professional studios. You also needed professional photos and an eye-catching press kit. Today you can have a professional sounding recording made in your bedroom. In addition, many photo editing software make it much easier to create some pretty cool pictures (Instagram anyone????).
  2. Making it available: But then why wait for a record deal? You don’t need one in order to get your music out there. Many people today buy music online and it usually takes less than a week to get your music on major online retail stores (mainly through aggregators). Labels also have access to traditional distribution channels such as big box retailers, but if you’re starting out chances are you have a limited budget and releasing a CD album is financially unrealistic.
  3. Discovery: Many online services such as last.fm, Pandora, YouTube, and Spotify are great for discovery. Granted, these streaming services don’t pay a lot…but they offer other opportunities nonetheless (merchandising, building a fan base, possible touring…). Also, I think that anyone who believes that a substantial amount of their income will come from royalties is slightly out-of-touch with the real world. Music is now more available than it’s ever been…people get it for free (legally or illegally). Big profits from CD sales???? That ship has sailed…
  4. Getting attention: Social media makes it easier for anyone to get attention…and I mean anyone. It’s all a matter of how you use it. I think that in today’s world it’s very important to have an online presence. Fans no longer want to buy a product…it’s all about the experience. They want to interact and feel as if they’re part of something unique.

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)