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Massive changes in the music industry

I have been consulting a great deal with people and the artists I work with about the massive changes in the music industry lately. It is long overdue that I make an official blog post about it.
But how do you sum up what equates to declaring the death of gravity to a physicist in a short blog entry? It’s a challenge, however, now we know enough to confidently make some bold statements about where the music industry is going and I will very briefly summarize them here:

  • The music industry is moving away from corporations and back to the artist/musician where it should be (this is a very good thing for you, the artist, but more rights and control means more work and responsibility)
  • Giving music away for free and digital downloading doesn’t hurt music sales, it is in fact the only way music is purchased, and essentially has been for a long time. (The myth that downloading is hurting sales is propaganda that corporations have spread in attempt to retain control they are losing over the music industry – see first point)
  • Music as an emotional commodity has become about building and selling relationships, NOT selling a product. Build a strong following and fans will support you in all your efforts. This will soon become a philosophy for all business in the near future in my opinion.
  • The Internet now fully into it’s web 2.0 phase is the way that artists can independently build a strong business without corporations or other companies due to it’s many resources. (This is covered in detail in Andrew Dubbers’ free eBook which I blogged about here, and links to some of these can be found in my blogroll/links page
  • Blogging and social networking is one of the most important ways to accomplish the above and embrace the new music industry and start building your audience.

So these are some pretty drastic changes, I mean, telling artists they need to give their music away in order to sell it when they have been told that is stealing and will cost them sales? Well, I have started to do it myself as mentioned here, and many professionals, industry experts and artists have proven these points to not only be true, but very successful, artists like Jonathan Coultan. He may not be famous enough for you to know him, but he’s an independent artist making a living from his music using these very techniques. There are articles about it all over the internet. Major artists like radiohead have been starting to make changes as well, selling their music by donation, and a lot of people not only think they’re crazy, fellow artists think they are ruining the music industry. But those people haven’t studied the proven facts about where music is going.

I have been researching this for some time now, particularly for a course I teach at a local college as part of the full time music program. I also offer artists consulting on effectively using these techniques. I don’t have all the answers because no one does yet, things are still changing and progressing. But I can see where things are going, and it is a good thing.

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5 Responses to “Massive changes in the music industry”

  1. Darrell Says:

    Well Jarome, it is indeed a brave new world. And its rather daunting to an old fogie like me but it sure is fun.

    I’ve become a believer in this new environment and am preparing to launch myself out onto the sea of Web 2.0.

    And that seems like a suitable metaphor: launching my small fishing boat out onto the vast open sea. Giving away music is like “chumming” – throwing bait into the water. The better and bigger the bait, the more fish come to the nets.

    There are a lot of of other boats, but its a vast ocean FULL of fish. And these fish have no problem occupying more than one net at once. Our nets on this sea are like overlapping circles. But they don’t get tangled and in fact, can even help each other.

    All I have now is a small boat – that YOU helped me build. I’m working on preparing the bait. And with a little help, I’ll learn to throw my nets effectively as well.

    ///Darrell Rodgers
    Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
    http://darrellsongs.com

  2. Laura Says:

    This is a great summary, Jarome! It is definitely an exciting and somewhat confusing time to be an artist. Thanks for helping me learn about all this and for all your encouragement of artists!

  3. Jarome Matthew’s Blog » Canada proposes new music tax Says:

    […] industry, where the artist is back on top. and THAT is a proven fact. (I get into this more in this post about the massive changes in the industry) I’m really getting tired of media being too lazy to research this stuff before publishing, […]

  4. Jarome Matthew’s Blog » The end of the music industry as we know it Says:

    […] year I blogged about how the music industry is changing along with a lot of others… Recently, A very detailed 18 page report has been published by […]

  5. Jarome Matthew’s Blog Says:

    […] artist even more impact to you personally. That personal connection and relationship is what the new music industry is based on; It’s not about a physical product any more, it is ALL about that relationship […]