The “New” Music Industry


Before he signs a new band to his independent music label, Franz Schuller usually gives aspiring musicians bad news: They’re probably not going to be famous. This bitter pill is briskly followed by another: “Whatever they think they knew about the music industry from what they’ve heard, or read, or seen on television, that really doesn’t exist any more,” says Mr. Schuller. “It’s really, really hard for artists out there now. It’s an insanely huge challenge to actually make a decent living playing music these days. That’s the reality.”

Ok, I do not know much about the music industry but right away this statement by a music industry insider put me off. If this is true then all the musicians are doomed and it’s the end of the indie music industry and we will all be listening to manufactured pop from the major labels from now.

But wait. Is that what’s really happening? No. We consumers of indie music are not being forced to listen to manufactured music at all. There are tonnes and tonnes of choices of indie musicians who are  creating superb music. I am a child of the 90s but I can say without any doubt in my mind that the indie music scene at the moment has been the best EVER.

Schuller thinks that bands will never make it in the real world.

“For all the massive opportunity that the Internet and mobile phones and devices give us by reaching millions and millions of people, there’s also a gazillion bands. It’s really hard to get noticed or to get anyone’s attention,” says Mr. Schuller. “It’s allowed people with absolutely no business competing in the same space to complicate the careers of people who do have a lot of talent. There’s way, way too much stuff out there.”

So, the reason you are not making money because untalented people are taking up your space??? What the fuck? That is one of the crappiest statements I have ever heard. You will get noticed if you are good and if you think you are destined to be famous then tap on the shoulder of your management not the technology. No one is asking you to be a technology genius. Just be smart about how to connect to people. If you can’t do it, ask your friends, family, your fans or just google it. I cannot believe that the reason why you are not successful is because you think someone else it taking up your space. What nonsense.

And then there is this :

This rings true for Tim Baker, lead singer of the burgeoning Newfoundland-based band Hey Rosetta!, which made the shortlist for this year’s Polaris Prize. As social networking technologies grow more popular, bands are put under pressure to communicate with their fans in a way that didn’t exist a decade ago.

“I just want to create a clone who actually enjoys being online,” he says with a laugh. “What a band is historically supposed to do is tour, and write music and put on shows. When you get home, your time off is actually way more work than being on the road.”

Again. What nonsense. If you do not like to spend time on line – Don’t. Please. Spare us.

Just make sure your music is easily accessible (iTunes, emusic, amazon) and put up shows in different parts of the country to stay in touch with your fans. Stay away from Twitter and facebook if it bugs you so much. I want to hear your music and I will pay for it and your shows/t-shirts. I do not want to hear about your life. I have no interest in it.

I think that’s what bugs some of the musicians these days. Gone are the days where a musician could define a fan, now it’s the fan who defines a musician.The fan decides what he/she wants to hear, what he/she wants to share and what he/she wants to spend money on. The musician should focus on what they do best, play music and leave the business of making money to the quality of their music.

Watch this video to learn the business model of the new music industry.

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