The face of the music industry around the world has changed thanks to the Internet, but is that really a good thing?
Twenty years ago CDs were the only thing that mattered. Thirty years ago it was records – physical things. Now it’s the Internet that’s changed the musical landscape, allowing for the likes of Justin Bieber and other breakthrough artists to be found and propelled to stardom. The debate of streaming companies paying their artists peanuts for their music has been dominating the music news in the past year, and forever will be, as industry bigwigs are banning videos from YouTube and having complete control over what music can be popularised and advertised, bringing them more revenue – making the artists sacrifice their soul for a shot at fame.
The Internet is a great tool though; giving people a chance to discover new artists they wouldn’t otherwise. However, it’s also making the rich richer and the poor poorer. The costs of studio time and recording can be more than what is being gained from the buyers of their music, as big record companies only take on the campaigns they know will make them money. The executives and PR people can then make up the money they’ve loaned to them from the millions of album sales that a popular artist makes every year – and we all fall for it, every single time.
They then get pushed to the top of the charts, before they make another album and the whole cycle starts again – until the newest artist comes along. I feel sorry for the artists that have been taken on, have poor album sales and are drowning in debt to their record label.
Being a Music Journalism student, I’m constantly being told about how tough the music industry is to conquer, and how we should cherish the new artists and go against the mainstream. I’m glad that we writers are supporting the newest acts signed to indie labels, because it seems that nobody else is going to, unless they shoot to extremely large popularity.
Marketing is a big part of their image as well, as big companies have more money to spend on campaigns to make them more reachable by sending out sponsored tweets and Facebook posts, whereas other small artists simply wouldn’t be able to afford such luxuries.
I’m a music blogger, and have to constantly find new ways to market myself in an already saturated market, as well as being a niche. It’s exactly the same as promoting new music, trying to get much outreach and engagement as possible, with the hope that one day you might get popular and be picked up by somebody big.
All artists and creatives out there give the best effort in succeeding that we can but there comes a point where we all start to doubt ourselves, wondering if it’s worth it. Determination and raw talent help carry some people through to the end and to stardom, but sometimes it’s more about who you know to be successful than what you know.
Will there ever be a day when talent overtakes money and the big record labels aren’t manipulating their big artists into being their perfect puppets? Who knows. But one thing’s for sure, and some people will agree, that I don’t want to see it for too much longer.
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