Has music become more of a utility? Does music need to learn how to live in this digital world? The short answer is yes! Music has become a sort of utility. It is a utility which is used on the go and is a part of a person’s routine life. Many musicians find the digital music scene a difficult place to fit in. Will digital music be the death of the value of music?
Well, the availability of music over the internet is by no means devaluing it. It just means that artists will need to work harder to survive in this new age. No more can an artist survive solely on the sale of physical copies, thanks to the internet.
The Effects of Internet
Many artists believed that the internet will be a great place for new musicians or even established ones to reach their audience directly. That means that they will not need to pay their record labels. They would get all of the money that they get through sales minus the distributor.
For the most part, they are correct. It is true that the internet has opened a number of ways through which new artists and established ones can sell themselves. Not only can they manage their music the way they like, they can also remove the barrier of a record label. When this barrier is removed, they can interact with their audience better and improve their music. They can also understand what their listeners want from them better, and will not need to serve their record labels more than their audience.
There is no doubt that in the end, the listener is the one that an artist needs to satisfy. Sometimes, record labels may not allow the artist to produce music the way he/she wants to because ‘market standards’.
Are Record Labels Done?
Does the internet and the money generated from digital sales means that record labels are no longer required? As you may know, record labels promote the artists and the music. They are the ones that bring the artist into the limelight.
New artists will still need the help of record labels. It is not impossible for an artist to promote and manage his/her music himself/herself, but it takes a longer time. An artist will need to study the market and devise a good strategy to penetrate it. This is by no means an easy job and requires investment. New artists usually do not have the kind of money required to promote their music on their own.
Established artists, like Taylor Swift, on the other hand can leave record labels for good. Most people already know a lot about the established artists, and the established artists do not need to promote their music due to this reason. Established artists will make more money without record labels than they would with them.
Another factor is the amount of revenue generated from steaming. Steaming is very common and will not generate enough money for new artists to cover their recording sessions, even if a very large number of streams are registered.
Even if we consider all of this, music will have to take the digital route sooner or later as music on physical media is probably not going to around for too long.