Is The Democratization of the Music Business a Complete Failure?

Is The Democratization of the Music Business a Complete Failure?
Is The Democratization of the Music Business a Complete Failure?

I grew up in the 1980’s. That was the period of the massive labels, massive excursions, and massive hair! Lot’s of $$$ was made. Bands from the 60’s and early 70’s would speak about how that they had been screwed however that these 80’s bands have been raking it in. Return and watch Billy Joel’s or John Fogarty’s episodes of “Behind the Music”. Bands have been getting screwed over left and proper from everybody together with promoters, managers, and report labels. The angle amongst the ruling elite of the music enterprise was, “These are hippies. Preserve ’em doped up and ensure they’ve a lot of groupies they usually’ll be comfortable. They do not know methods to deal with cash. So, we’ll simply take care of that for them.” That is why many artists from the late 60’s and early 70’s ended up penniless as soon as the ringing in everybody’s ears had pale.

Fortunately, by the finish of the 1970’s issues have been altering and in the 1980’s with the creation of MTV, smarter artists and a legacy of horror tales from a decade earlier than the music artist dominated the planet. The artists of that space have been some of the most influential individuals in the world and a few of the most financially profitable. Some of the 70’s and 60’s artist additionally loved main come backs and monetary success throughout that interval. The picture of the music artist. The precise reverse of right this moment.

So what the hell occurred?

Gene Simmons and plenty of others want to blame the present state of affairs on grunge. In the early 1990’s rock music below went an over haul. From an inventive stand level, it seems to have been essential. Grunge was type of a reset button and whereas some artists of that motion have been very understated in there performances band’s like Rage In opposition to the Machine had crowds gathered in mosh pits. It wasn’t all darkish phases, melancholy, and shoe gazing. Take into account that any time there was a main change in the world there are at all times a number of galvanizing components. For example, the Vietnam conflict, the Kennedy assassination, experimentation with psychedelic medication and Watergate all went in to the pot that created hippy motion. It wasn’t only one issue. With that in thoughts let get again to the “glory days” of the late 1970’s and 1980’s.

In the 80’s it was very costly to report an album, grasp it, do a video and advertise. File labels would spend hundreds earlier than the tune or album was even launched and with out ever understanding what form of return on funding they might count on. Why was it so costly? It really takes a village to get a band recorded, video recorded, and promoted. Many of you studying this now have discovered this the exhausting means. We’ll get again to that in a minute. Albums like Purple Rain, and Born in the USA had scores of individuals ensuring that all the things acquired achieved and the it was achieved properly. This was nonetheless no assure of monetary success however information have been rather well made. The artist targeting writing nice music. The band targeting enjoying that music completely reside and in the studio. The video director and his workforce gave the video their full consideration and the individuals at the label labored exhausting to get the report and the video performed and supported (paid for) the tour. It was a good mannequin. Quite costly but it surely labored, and it gave a lot of artists of that period a lot of monetary and social capital. Then some one had a “higher” concept…

Winy whiners whining…

So we’ve got this properly oiled machine, however nonetheless some individuals weren’t comfortable. Many artists felt that main labels managed the enterprise. The massive evil firms have been squelching the true artists. Many cried “No truthful!” That was their proper to take action. The conflict raged for about 10 to fifteen years and when the smoke cleared. The label system was lifeless. The indie artists had received. The music enterprise was now fully “democratic”. We needed a “truthful” system… and guess what? We acquired our want. The enterprise is totally democratic. You may report a nice sounding report in your own home. There are mastering companies that can grasp your report very properly for very low worth or you’ll be able to even do this your self. Expertise additionally makes creating a video very cheap and fast and there are actually HUNDREDS of advertising and marketing companies geared toward the indie musician’s worth level. The web permits your to advertise your self all day and night time virtually totally free. Now everybody may be a rock star!

The place are all of these Rock Stars???

With all of this expertise and free promotion why is not EVERYONE a rock star? If you’re a musician studying this, you will have most likely seen that whereas all of this democracy sounds good… I imply democracy HAS to be good proper? Why do not have I’ve the success that I really feel I ought to and even really feel that I deserve? About 20 years in the past one thing disturbing began occurring. You’ll purchase a CD out of your favourite artist solely to appreciate that the solely good tune was the one that you simply heard on the radio. That is REALLY what occurred to the music enterprise. The push to do extra, spend much less, and get that return on funding faster result in albums being cranked out with perhaps one good tune, as an alternative of an album’s price a nice materials. Followers started to grow to be skeptical. I am not making this up. This turned a large matter in the music press at the finish of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Bands like Hootie and the Blowfish would put out an album full of nice materials. They bought tens of millions and in an effort to duplicate that success they rushed to do one other report. The second album tanked. This occurred with many artists of that period. You can not pull a bait and swap in your prospects. You’ll unfastened EVERY TIME!

Album gross sales have been declining. Web downloading was rising. Folks thought… “Hey his final report was fairly weak. Why ought to I spend $14.99 on his CD solely to be disillusioned once I can get it totally free on the net?” I am going to digress right here for minute. Did you discover $14.99 worth for a CD fairly excessive in the final sentence? That was really a discount worth for a CD at the time. Many CD’s have been promoting for $17.99 and a few as excessive as $19.99. It is exhausting to picture individuals today spending that sort of cash on a CD, if they might even purchase one in any respect. That is how dangerous issues actually are. The mixture of weaker materials, buyer disillusionment, web down loading, the cash drying up, and extra choices for individuals to spend their leisure greenback on non music associated issues is what acquired us to the place we’re right this moment.

Democracy in Motion!

So… quick ahead and it is 2014. The enterprise is closely segmented. Most of the music that makes it on the radio doesn’t translate properly reside except you’re the unique artist. So even cowl bands are struggling. Hip-hop and Nation have surpassed the success of rock many instances over. Now that it is all democratic, artist has an excessive amount of on her plate. She wants to put in writing, report, produce, combine and grasp her personal report. ebook her personal reveals, do her personal promotion, movie her personal video and carry her personal gear. Most report labels are simply that “labels”. They’re simply the enterprise construction that the artist herself should arrange. There may be a lot of freedom today however with freedom come accountability. That is why everybody is not an indie sensation. Only a few can preserve this work ethic. It is a bitch doing all of it your self. Bear in mind you STILL have to preserve the lights on and feed your self. Loads of individuals get all excited once they see how huge open the enterprise actually is. It’s huge open. There may be a lot of actually distinctive, fascinating, enjoyable, catchy, and downright nice music on the market. Many artists who couldn’t discover a platform even 5 years in the past are on tour and making a dwelling at it. However they busted their asses to get there. They joint ventured with different artists and companies. They discovered methods to out supply a lot of their promotion prices. They barter. They discover a means. They’ve discovered that it actually does take a village.

Lou Lombardi