It's no secret that the past few decades have seen seismic changes in the music business. From the rise in piracy, to the incredible boom of the "download the single" market, to the death and rebirth of music videos, and to streaming services revolutionizing the concept of ownership, these evolutions are a direct result of the Millennial media consumer and the intersection of technology and music as a whole.
From Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, to Instagram's Kevin Systrom, and all the way to Kim Kardashian's reported $200m success story with the Kim Kardashian app: tech careers aren't just incredibly lucrative, the tech industry is the new red carpet.
So what does that leave for the music industry that once lead in all things career-aspirational? Forbes recently put out an article titled, 4 Reasons Why Music Careers Are Getting Trounced By Tech. In case you haven't heard, there's no more glamour, creativity, or freedom in the music industry, and this world of possibility is now owned by the tech industry. Or is it?
When it comes to the theory that there is more potential, creativity, and freedom in tech than music, "there are just as many struggling artists as there are struggling tech founders," says music manager and tech investor, CEO of Atom Factory, Troy Carter. "You look at a Jay Z, Beyonce, and Kevin from Instagram and Travis from Uber, those are outliers in those particular fields," he continues.
As our upcoming REVOLT Music Conference heats up, we find that actually the convergence of the two industries reflect the most fascinating innovations driving each forward. Like we are seeing with wearables, where tech and fashion can converge to empower one another, the same is happening with tech and music. Empowering the convergence of music and tech to continue to super serve the insatiable appetite young consumers have for music will move culture forward.
The rise of streaming has unlocked revenue potential for the music industry, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface on the future music experience - and business - as it will exist through emerging technology.
"I think the biggest learning from tech is the meaning of scale. That's one of the things the music industry has yet to get their heads around. The tech community will give away the product to get the people on the platform and then find ways to monetize it. The music industry has always limited itself from being able to scale as widely as they potentially could just because of the pay wall," says Troy Carter.
Love it or hate it, as Apple grants U2 the biggest release in music - love it or hate it - by giving away 500 million copes of their album via iTunes, Troy is absolutely right. According to John Jurgensen at the Wall Street Journal, "this promotion highlights the way recorded music is often more valuable these days as a promotional tool than a stand alone product."
Now is the time to open the dialogue about how the intersection of tech and music mutually pushes the other industry forward, and the future of each will continue to see innovation and disruption. The difference is, disruptions happen to us as brands, and we seek to survive them, while having the foresight to lean in to the future is where "change" looks more like innovation, and the creation of opportunity.