Technology and the web have changed many things in a relatively short period of time --
maybe just about everything. From reading a book to using a phone, few things have remained static over my lifetime. No one texted, "friended" someone else and tweeted in 1995. Cell phones used to be laughably large. And perhaps no industry has experienced more profound change than music.
The very act of making an album today often barely resembles its 1970s or 1980s counterpart. These days, bands can record in their home studios with ProTools and share snippets and samples with other members over cloud-computing services such as Dropbox. They can reach their fans directly and even circumvent record companies altogether.
On the consumer side, piracy is rampant. For people with ethics, listening is easier than ever. Thanks to the popularity of streaming services such as Spotify, the very act of legally discovering and listening to music is often a fundamentally different experience than it was even five years ago. (Whether or not Spotify treats artists equitably is an open debate, though.)
If it seems like I'm an expert on the music industry, I'm not. Far from it. I just know enough to be dangerous. For a truly knowledgeable resource, I again sat down with Mark Kelly, keyboardist of the English band Marillion for more than three decades. We have spoken several times about how technology has changed the game for musicians.
Marillion recently announced that it would again employ a crowdfunding approach, a concept that it essentially created fifteen years ago long before Kickstarter and other "platforms "existed. The band has selected PledgeMusic to handle the logistics and fulfillment for its forthcoming 2016 album. (Marillion's accompanying video is downright hysterical.)
Photo credit: andywrightstudios.com