“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” so shouted various musicians/artists/writers/executives in the music industry since the creation of Napster. We have been watching the industry’s “death rattle” for nearly a decade now and personally I am tired of it. These arguments just don’t wash. The reality is that we artists, songwriters, and others involved in the music industry have great opportunities ahead of us. Allow me to explain!
First off technology has given those of us at the bottom a great opportunity to overcome typical problems we face: The quality of our product. Instead of needing thousands of dollars to enjoy a great sound on one song it is now possible to create a killer home studio and pump out an albums worth of music with similar amounts of cash.
Secondly, the internet which killed the industry, has given us an absolutely amazing way to create a network and build a strong international following. Look at Rebecca Black, yes we hate her music, but she’s made over $200,000 through a viral spread of her song. She did this with an initial investment of about $2000. Not bad!
Finally, this has led to a massive growth in the number of artists. Now as songwriters this means we need to realize that we have an opportunity to work with a lot of different artists and create great music. Personally I love writing songs, so I have a choice. I can write one or two songs a year and try to get those songs passed into the hands of a few powerful stars that will then have me over a barrel if they want a writing credit on my song! I have wasted a year and lost equity in my work. On the other side, I can spend time writing with local artists who I like and respect. Turn out more work, possibly co-writing, and perhaps coming up with a series of different great songs that then get a following. As such there is killer opportunity to work with new artists, have artistic freedom, and make beautiful music that people listen to.
Or you can sit around and bitch about the industry…