Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby, mentioned in a recent interview that pop culture trends often have a counter trend that is equally important to note. Sivers’ noted that although micro videos on Youtube are incredibly popular, lengthy epics such as The Sopranos and Lost are also on the forefront of pop culture. If the counter trend is equally as important as the trend itself, what does that say about the music industry? Consider these assumptions:
“No one pays for music anymore”
Yes, no one pays for music, if you define “everyone” as those who do not pay for music. What about all of the people going to large festivals this summer? They will pay to get in. Advertisers pay for music. Film pays for music. Movies related to musical artists are often paid for. There may not always be people willing to pay for “any” music, but I guarantee that there will always be people willing to pay for the emotional response associated with music. This will never go away. The trick is, how do you market the emotional response?
“There are a million bands just like mine, no one will care that I am creating music”
True! Most people will not care that you are creating something special and unique. This is the best possible scenario. How would you create music that appealed to everyone? It would be next to impossible. Think of your music as the smallest niche possible. Get specific as to who you are marketing to, and suddenly it becomes a lot easier to be “the best polka funk band in the world”.
“The major record labels are going under because there is no more money in music”
What a lie! The major record labels are losing power and attention because they are working in an antiquated business mindset. It has nothing to do with a lack of money in music. There is always money in music if that is the way you see the music industry. Unless you are currently only making money with a deal from a major record label, why would you care if they crash and burn? There are so many indie labels that are doing great things for their artists and making money. Beyond indies, there are legions of completely independent bands that flourish by releasing self funded records ( often recorded by people like me).
” Illegal downloading is robbing musicians of income”
I do believe that illegal downloading robs musicians of a possible income stream. Although this puts an end to one income stream, that does not mean that the end of the world is upon us. The problem allows us to innovate new ways of creating money in music. Because it is easier to promote a new artist than ever before, it is now possible to work in artist development for half the cost that it did twenty years ago. Why is this not looked at as a blessing?