Times are changing… I remember (just!) being a 14 or 15 year old boy, and the highlight of my week was a trip down to the local record shop to check out the newly released LP’s. I can recall vividly the smell and sounds coming from the freshly pressed vinyl and the excitement in the air whilst browsing the rows of colourful album sleeves, as enticing as the records themselves. Then it was off to the counter with our selection to get them to put an album on one of the turntables so we could listen in one of the private booths before making our purchase…an unforgettable retail experience!
My, how far we have come. Today we listen to digitally recorded music, on a digital format on a digital machine! We now purchase (??) our music in a totally different way too, i-tunes, Spotify, MP3’s and sometimes even on a hard copy CD, so different, some say sterile, I wouldn’t like to comment!
But, with all the fantastic new developments in technology, how is the music industry coping? How is the new talent making a living without record sales? How is the future looking for the entertainment industry?
There’s no doubt that the internet has had a massive impact on the workings and revenue of the music industry. It has forced the industry to change and adapt – changes that have both positive and negative effects.
The biggest change of all is that people are now turning to the web to get their sounds fix instead of buying records… fact. The internet has made piracy easier through the sharing of files and downloading, and overall, music sales have been in decline. This has meant that artists have found it difficult to earn their millions through traditional “album” sales, so these creative types have had to be financially creative too.
But the internet has been beneficial to the music industry too, in some ways. For example it has created online radio, created new customer advantages and created some large record company disadvantages. New artists have been discovered on-line, and it has made the entire entertainment world a much smaller place.
Many new bands and artists now record and promote their work themselves, without the big record company backing that often used to lead to the bands downfall. Digital recording is cheap and accessible; many amazing new tunes are recorded in bedrooms and living rooms across the land.
Acts have become more reliant on touring and doing live shows to earn their money, and the internet has helped a lot here. The ability to cheaply promote shows on-line, capture performance footage as it happens and put it on to YouTube, and, best of all, create a buzz around live gigs on Twitter, has given bands the power of self-promotion, without the need for costly PR and marketing companies.
Until the arrival of the internet, record companies had a huge say in whether an artist would make it or not in the industry, and how that artist would be marketed and even had a say in their music! They dictated the rules, wrote the contracts, chose the artists, fixed the prices and controlled the artists. The Internet has changed all of that, it has helped to create a medium for artists to get their music out there… directly to the world and to potential fans!
New artists can communicate easily with their audience too, on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace they can build a solid following of loyal followers and keep them up-to-date on what the artist is up to. They can promote new music, merchandise and gauge feedback, all in the aid of growing their brand and building their career.