For those that are old enough to remember, you use to have actually to go to a physical location to purchase music. Record stores were once popular attractions for music enthusiasts as they could preview records and eventually purchase what they enjoyed. People of all backgrounds would meet in these environments and bond over both new and old albums. While more significant recording artists received the most sales, independent artists received representation in these stores, and it was an excellent opportunity to be discovered by a niche audience. With the internet, the consumer’s relationship with music has completely changed, and this is especially true for independent artists. In the film industry, film producers such as Heather Parry have experienced a similar change in that industry.
During the early days of the internet, pirating music was one of the most popular activities for many internet users. These individuals were free to listen or download music without leaving the comfort of a household. Popular software such as Kazaa and Limewire used peer-to-peer connectivity, which allowed you to download your favorite musician’s catalog free of charge. As a result, the music industry began to a downward spiral, and this negatively affected all types of musicians. For those signed to significant recording deals, they were often forced to sign what is referred to as a 360 deal. Musicians who chose this path signed over publishing rights and had to give the record label proceeds from sales of merchandise and touring income.
Streaming Services Take Over
As consumer demand for purchasing music continued to decline, popular services such as Soundcloud and Pandora eventually emerged on the scene. These two services were necessarily the prototypes for the eventual streaming business model enjoyed by companies like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play. Record labels figured out how to shift consumers back to purchasing music in the form of subscription services. While the record labels are still able to stay afloat with this model, musicians continue to receive the short end of the stick.
Musicians receive fractions of a penny for each stream and are hardly compensated for this type of art anymore. Many independent musicians create standalone websites where fans can purchase music from favorite artists directly. Some musicians have even begun using Blockchain technology to sell products and music to consumers. This type of technology provides a form of transparency not experienced by signing to a record label. The technology has had its hiccups and mainstream acceptance seems a little ways away but getting in early could result in huge gains down the road. Keep an eye on it.