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The Music Industry - 'State Of Play' Have your say on what's good, bad or ugly about the global Music Industry in the 21st Century

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Old 4th October 2008 , 04:12 AM
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Default How much should we expect of this industry?



I suppose this thread is really a self harming one in that it is against the very understanding of me, the person posting it as well as the hosts of this site.

Namely, How much can we feasibly expect from the music industry?

We live in a society that puts succesful musicians on pedestals. Making them into overnight millionaires, demi-gods and ultimately desirable within our social circle.

This is a scenario that is not good for us as human beings, for we strive to be like them, maybe not to be them but to have their wealth if not their fame. We are fed all this like a carrot on a stick, though few will ever taste the goods.

It is only since the birth of rock and roll (60 yrs or so ago) and the vinyl record that making money from being in a band was feasible.

Generally before then, the only people who would have made a decent living from music were people from wealthy backgrounds who could afford to practise and not toil all day to make ends meet.

Even J.S.Bach had to be in the employ of Kings and court and the Church in order to feed his family. Had he been alive today, he would no doubt have been as wealthy as any Paul McCartney, Madonna or Michael Jackson

Anyhow, What do we expect from music nowadays?

Would we be so adamant in making a career from it were it not to pay as well as it does? Would the Directors of Digital Village be running this forum or indeed their nationwide chain of stores were it only to put bread and dripping on their dining table?

We are heading into a recession, it's not hit us fully yet. Should we chase the dream or should we get out there with our ploughs and our sickles and put food into our mouths the way it has been done for generations?

Answers on a postcard please!
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Old 4th October 2008 , 08:07 AM
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I would speculate that the vast majority of us that inhabit this little corner of cyberspace aren't looking for fame, wealth and glory. I think most of us are hobbyists, part time artists and bedroom muso's who simply shun the "industry" or know that unless we sell our souls to Simon Cowell, we will simply be legends in our own bedrooms

When I left school, the career's officer asked me what I wanted to do for a living and I replied, "Be a musician". She sat silently for a few seconds and then said, "I don't think there's a course for that at college" ! So she recommended I studied electronics instead, as that was "close" to the technology used in the industry, apparantly !

Of course, nowadays, colleges do run courses in the industry at every level, from production to performing to promoting and beyond. Why ? Becuase there's money to be made from exploiting people's dreams. Just like the record companies did.

We thought we had gotten rid of the record companies. The advent of MySpace, Facebook et al had given the populous false hope and made them believe that they didn't need the record companies to get noticed. And indeed, the established industry was shaken greatly by the advent of the download culture. But when you remove something that big, something always fills it's space. Now we have marketing and promotion companies calling the shots. Thousands of hopefuls sign up to MySpace believing they'll be the next Arctic Monkeys or Lily Allen. Sadly, they won't. Why ? Because the industry caught on to that little idea and now MySpace is full of "artist" pages, and people sign up to them believing it's the actual artist that compiled that page and that they were added by them personally. Poor fools. You can read the "guestbooks" of these major artists and see the misguided individuals leaving comments like "Oh, I'm so honoured that you added me. I'm such a big fan and you have made my life so happy", not realising that the only people they are talking to are the marketing people who are sat there, rubbing their hands with glee, knowing that they are guaranteed sales the next time their artist releases some bile ridden track. And who owns MySpace ??

Fox Interactive Media, part of the News Corporation group, owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Independent populist community ? Not for the last 3 and a half years I'm afraid

Since the dawn of popular music last century, and probably long before that too, the only people assured of making a decent long term living from music have been the ones who exploit and promote it. There are always exceptions to the rules, but they are few and far between and had to struggle for years in "the system" before hopefully fulfilling their contracts whilst still successful and carrying on alone. Or the ones that never went down that path and had a long hard slog to get noticed. Those people are rare.

Nowadays, any Tom, Dick or Harry can "release" their work into the big, wide world. The Internet has enabled millions of people to get their work heard by the masses. But the adverse effect of that is that so much crap gets released too ! The one good thing about the old record industry was that it served as a quality filter.

I'm not saying that we should all give up trying to make a living out of our music, and I do believe that sooner rather than later, we will see an even bigger shift towards the empowerment of the artist, but whilst we still have shows like "Pop Idol" or "X Factor", the promotions people still run the show. Their top criteria for any artist is "Will I make money from them?". You only have to watch one of those shows to see how many thousands of "hopefuls" show up and how completely talentless the vast majority of them are to understand that most of the burgeoning artists out there are working under the illusion that they are good enough when they clearly are not. Pop(ular) music is exactly what it is, Popular. You have to appeal to the masses, and we can't all do that. There isn't enough space to.

The old adage that "if you are good enough and work hard enough you will make it" is just a load of bollox. I have seen so many extremely talented and hard working artists fall by the wayside to know that if you don't fit the marketing team's money making "model", you ain't going anywhere. When you see your favourite pop band saying "If you believe in your dream, you can make it", they're simply exhibiting that response because they can't believe that they made it to the top themselves and it makes them feel better to say that anyone can do it, regardless of whether they had years at the Sylvia Young School and lucked out on X Factor becuase Simon Cowell saw that teen girls would soil their knickers and pay him any price to do so !

I believe many here will be content in making the music we want to make and having it enjoyed by a collection of people, but we will all still have day jobs.

I know I sound cynical, but I prefer the tag "realistic"

You can make a living in music if you can exploit the artists, or you can make a living as a musician if you're are prepared to do the sould destroying job of being a covers band in a club/cruise liner/etc.

Or, if you are supremely lucky, and are prepared to be shafted, you might make it to the big time with the help of Cowell and his cronies.
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Old 11th October 2008 , 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sijarvis View Post
Namely, How much can we feasibly expect from the music industry?
I think it's a very different place compared to a few years ago. I don't think it's a totally lost cause or total waste of time for a musician just starting out...but I do think it is a very good idea to put as much time as possible into every aspect of production, promotion e.t.c to really make an impact.
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Old 25th October 2008 , 12:55 PM
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well everyone dont espect to be the next Timbaland or DRE just do your studies and take this as a hobby. thats what i do...
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Old 27th October 2008 , 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Failed Muso View Post
Thousands of hopefuls sign up to MySpace believing they'll be the next Arctic Monkeys or Lily Allen. Sadly, they won't. Why ?
In short, because they don't have the songs and the talent...
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Old 27th October 2008 , 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutilatedlip View Post
In short, because they don't have the songs and the talent...
or get abducted by aliens i think myspace is really saturated tbh, its become lost, i think it is a good reference point for people but not somewhere to easily find new talent
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Old 27th October 2008 , 03:57 PM
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Quote:
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or get abducted by aliens i think myspace is really saturated tbh, its become lost, i think it is a good reference point for people but not somewhere to easily find new talent
Funny really...in a way that is (IIRC) the reason why Myspace started in the first place. "reference point for people"

I think the music aspect of it kind of spun out of that original idea. It is so saturated now as you said that the core idea seems to be the best use for it..."a place for friends"....not really a place for muscians as even Myspace Music is not an ideal solution for musicians.
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