Several industries are as diverse and as difficult to define as the music industry.
From independent musicians and recording studios to major labels and well-known music venues, there are dozens if not hundreds of elements that make up the industry as a whole – and they are not always connected or integrated in any noticeable way.
But if you have a passion for music and you are determined to build your own music business or become part of an industry on some level, here are seven things you need to know about the state of the music business.
1. Most musicians embraced new technologies early on. Whether it’s the latest social media or crowdfunding platform, musicians are often the first to pick up new tools for a test drive, and some are succeeding. For example, independent musician Daria Musk has found interest in Google Hangouts.
2. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to succeed. This is especially true for such a personal and subjective as music.
3. Technology is changing the way studios work. LANDR is an online tool that automatically learns recorded music – and reportedly the end results are pretty good. The constant development of technology continues to reduce the need for traditional recording studios with a large budget, and the production process is increasingly automated. Home recording equipment is also affordable and high quality.
4. Blockchain could become the future of the industry. The technology underlying popular cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is known as the blockchain, and it can offer an opportunity for more music companies and musicians to monetize their work without third parties taking a bigger piece of the pie. But the current structure of the industry is preventing this from moving forward.
5. This is the only industry from Payola. Radio stations are prohibited from airing music in exchange for money unless they declare it a “sponsorship”. Unfortunately, corruption continues, and the mainstream air is dominated by music from the top 40, which is an extremely popular minority. If you thought the Arctic Monkeys were “independent,” you wouldn’t even understand the independent majority.
6. The flow of music is a growing market. And we will continue to see innovation and new developments in this area. There may now be dozens of streaming sites, but that number is likely to grow to hundreds, maybe thousands.
7. Human beings cannot be cornered. As it turned out, machines are capable of creating beautiful, emotional music that has long been considered impossible. Will it change the way you create music? Will it make musicians obsolete? Hard to say.