How The Singing Industry Has Changed – Brave New Singing World
Dear fellow singers / musicians.
This will be worth well your time to read.
From the first sound recording device which was a mechanical phonograph cylinder, invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 called the phonograph, to the end of “traditional” models for selling music called “records” (hence the name “Record Companies”), and any other hard “product” (i.e. CD’s as opposed to electronic media mp3’s etc), there is a huge paradigm shift in how music is now bought, distributed, shared and sold.
Don’t worry, I am not goring to bore you with the history of music, but I must bring out some key points to help you navigate through a heartless, ruthless (and in many cases) talent less maze, to give you the tools to “make it” in this brutal and wonderful industry we have come to know as “The Music Business.”
I think an understanding of where we have come from, and where we are now, is CRITICAL to navigating a course for where we are headed, and how you CAN find success in this tumultuous sea of opportunity.
Please first consider this:
ALL MUSIC, for thousands of years, has been a medium where “artists” would perform “live” for entertainment, enjoyment, lament, instruction and story telling and was not “bought and sold” as what the industry calls “intellectual property” today. In most cases, songs of tradition were anonymous and no one knew who wrote them. They were simply handed down and enjoyed from generation to generation. (meaning that there were NO SUPER ROCK/ POP STARS. You played to a village, you played to a small town. Not worldwide satellite television. So the motivation for music was much different than it is today.
My point is; …how strange. All music throughout time has never been bought and sold or “owned” until the last 200 years. And now, the “popular cultural music” is predominantly marketed for fame and fortune (American Idol anyone?) having little to do with “true artistry, true love of music and storytelling/communication” and a true “bearing of one’s soul-life experiences.” (as opposed to everything today demanding a one dimensional sexual connotation).
OK, so now that we understand, this is a “game” of music, not a qualification of talent, we need to look at these two different types of “artists.”
There is the artist that truly does things for the wonderful sake of artistry, and a desire to be the best they can be
However today it’s “edited perfection” and only the “beautiful people” are up for consideration in the main stream because beauty and youth is worshipped, not talent or content, so most of today’s artists are left with doing things for the sole sake of image and marketing and have no choice but to “play the game.”
(There can also be a little of both, but I am just compartmentalizing this to make it easier to understand).
With that said, the days of a great artists, being recognized on basis of their shear talent (with very few exceptions) is virtually over, and it makes no sense to beat our heads against the bloody wall of this industry. We must accept it for what it is and not deceive ourselves into thinking otherwise. (don’t think for a moment I want people to stop making great art, I just want to help those who do care about their craft find their place in this image making machine).
So how can we find success when we are stonewalled out of major media as “true artists”?
Well, many great things have happened.
In the wake of the arrogance of these “Major Record Labels,” these companies were not up to speed on the power of technology, and this ever-changing world and have therefore lost control of their monopoly. (this is a good thing)
So; On the one hand, anyone can put up a Youtube page (now translated Facebook and Twitter or whatever is the next flavor of the month technology…myspace may even be coming back soon) and make their music available to the whole world.
However, that is also precisely the problem, everyone on the planet HAS put up their Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, BeBo, Reverb Nation, myspace etc. page and so there is a HUGE glut of music out there both good and bad.
My suggestion is this; in addition to your artistry, you may want to strongly consider “playing the game” and pandering to major media by writing things you know you have a good chance at getting placed, whether it be for your favorite TV show, or an upcoming movie. This could “buy you the right” to get your “true” artistry out in the mainstream.
Getting your music placed in Film & TV is a very strong way to go to get your artistry heard. This is true for TV commercials as well. (these venues may be the best way…)
With that said:
Getting together a good electronic press kit is vital. (www.sonicbidz.com is pretty cool but I don’t endorse your using them to pitch your music to their leads. This is also true for “Taxi” as well. They do very little with really helping the Indie artist though they claim that’s their focus).
www.MusicSubmit.Com is pretty cool as they will put your stuff in front of genre specific web zines and web stations and are a reasonable service.
www.live365.com is cool if you don’t pay for their expensive service to “promote your music” to their hundreds of internet stations. Instead, look up your genre and click on the station manager itself. Most of the time their direct e-mail will be listed and you can solicit them directly without paying a dime.
The Indie Bible is also a wealth of Indie information www.indiebible.com
As do these kinds of resources:
It’s a jungle out there, but if you are willing to see this in a new way, you can do amazing things with your artistry.