The Evolution of The Music Industry: An Approximation to Today Challenges
A Cerullo on September 24, 2017
We are at a crucial turning point in the evolution of music. As newer forms of technology come out, the music industry will undoubtedly be affected.
The Music Industry has evolved greatly showing the challenges we can expect in the future. It is safe to say today’s generation is a streaming generation. Whether it’s movies, T.V shows, video games and more, all sorts of entertainment are available with just a few clicks. The music industry is especially affected by this.
Today, people head to websites like SoundCloud to discover the next up and coming act. In many ways, this makes it easier for consumers and artists alike, but simultaneously it makes the music industry much more competitive all around.
Thanks to apps like iTunes and Spotify, music creators have the possibility of expanding their music without distributors as record companies did back in the days. However, even though they are able to post music and freely share it with listeners finding a path to become mainstream, to promote themselves as independent artists is still an incredible work. Those platforms represent the democracy of the business industry as well as the challenge for artists to become not only creative, but also smart enough to know how to market themselves. The days of owning physical copies of your favorite music are far removed. Sure, vinyl sales are experiencing a small comeback, but no one is hanging out at small clubs and selling mixtapes like in the old days.
We are at a crucial turning point in the evolution of music and music business as well. As newer forms of technology come out, the industry will undoubtedly be affected. In fact, technology plays a very important role in the music history in so many different aspects. From instruments to record studios, mixers to record players, cassettes to Ipods, computers, Internet, and the new platforms technology is main to enhance and develop music.
The Shot Heard Round The World
Any revolution worth mentioning has one key moment that changed the course of history. Back when vinyl was king, the industry predicted an eventual move to a more compact form of technology. Eventually, the tape came to be and from there, the compact disc, so the birth of music streaming is no different.
In 1999 Napster was the first popular peer-to-peer file sharing service which allowed users to share MP3 music files with people all over the world. The music industry was dealt a major blow and sought out to destroy this new technology since it had to figure it out how to reinforce the business. Adapting to these new methods was relatively easy for both consumers and producers, but companies had to reinforce themselves. Napster was famously taken down but in its demise, grew thousands of similar platforms. Instead of fighting this new technology, the industry decided to play along. Record companies and musicians now all embrace streaming services. Streaming is now 1 billion dollar per year industry, and it proves that fans still want to buy music if they consider convenient for them.
Additionally, the music business nowadays rises by new ways of promotion and exposure, which is something essential for artists. Showcasing, events, partnerships, or merchandising are necessary in a daily basis for artists, and fans are more than ever a big part in the industry since they have developed new sales method.
The Evolution of Fierce Competition
Prior to the internet, mastering music required lessons, sheet music, and of course, an instrument. In today’s current environment, becoming a proficient musician has never been easier. Video sites like YouTube allow anyone with the will to learn to watch instructional videos on a wide variety of instruments. Is it better than having your own private tutor? Of course not, but it’s a great way to learn the basics, and open the door to pursuing a career in music. The video and image power is gaining even more relevance in the business with platforms such as Youtube or Instagram, so new perspectives of promotion and publicity appear in the new era as MTV did in the 90s. Also, when it comes to sheet music and lyrics, that too is greatly enhanced by the internet. The majority of popular song lyrics are available for free online and digital sheet music is both cheap and plentiful. Essentially learning music has never been easier, which means the amount of talented musicians out there is growing at a steady rate. Again, this has its pros and cons for everyone involved, but it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Artists Are Creative
It’s quite convenient that artists are creative because surviving in today’s music industry takes a little of innovation. We can no longer count on album sales to provide sufficient income for artists, and hitting the road is a tough way to make a buck. That’s not to say burgeoning artists should forget those two options, but there are other ways.
Obtaining money from ad revenue on sites like YouTube and Vimeo is becoming a more popular option, and even Spotify is starting to help musicians earn more money from their music. Those are some of the new spectrum of the music industry.
On the recording side of things, the industry is adapting to new technologies. No more is recording an expensive and complex endeavor. Now, simple computer software digitally mixes music, and this trend will continue improving the more professional studio quality. Costs for production and manufacturing are decreasing, which puts more revenue in artist’s´ hands. It’s an exciting time for the industry, but also an uncertain one since the future for artists and record companies remains more in their talent and the expectation of being supported. That brings all parties together to keep working in which will be a new perspective of the business, more collaborative and interacting, and in which for sure technology will continue to push the boundaries of how we make music.
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