Ideally, the music industry would serve all parties equally ; From executive and artist to supplier and fan.
Unfortunately, this condition has never existed, although there never has been, and still is no good reason why it can’t.
So let’s look at a few of the main components of todays industry, their condition, and how they may be improved or re-viewed in order to achieve this goal.
There is much discussion about todays music listener and their unwillingness to purchase music when so easy not to do so.
But there’s another to way to view this issue:
There have always only been two basic types of music listener:
The Physical Media Buyer and The Radio Listener.
The only difference today, is that the physical media buyer has been replaced by the iTunes account owner, and the radio listener by the streamer.
As a concept, this condition is fine, but todays artist compensation practices leave much to be desired.
Artist compensation has always been somewhat of a problem, however, todays system that largely provides music to the public at little or no cost, and with little or no offering of compensation to the artist, is unfair to say the least.
There is no good reason why this condition cannot be adjusted to include fair compensation for all parties.
For example: GET ORGANIZED.
Create a single, “catch-all” entity, including all recorded music that is responsible for maintaining a database including but not limited to the following:
Publishing ownership and rights.
All financial and other business related to a particular recording.
Basically, all recorded music and its properties, ownership, royalty distribution, etc, would exist at this location.
This benefits all parties.
The era of the distribution of recorded music with no financial gain for the artist must come to an end.
Although rare, there are artists creating quality recordings today, and in a variety of ways.
However, affordable digital recording equipment made available to the public, thereby rendering the high-end sound studio obsolete, is an illusion.
The reduction of facilities like the legendary, “Sound City” and, “Sunset Sound Recorders” in California has resulted in a significant decline of high-quality recordings over the last 20 to 25 years.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, record companies often handled marketing up-front and recouped their investment through record sales.
This is a scarcely available resource today.
Conversely, today, you are indeed able and free to produce a quality recording at little or no expense, but only to be released in to a never-ending sea of recordings, un-discernible by quality and a needle-in-a-haystack for the music-seeking public.
This is the least talked about ramification of the decline of the major record company, but based on the evidence, it seems clear that, “Marketing Budget is the new Recording Contract”.
The illegitimate trend of un-earned-fame-achievement in music spans a couple of generations now at least.
Although there will always be room for the, “Tiny Tims” of the world and the fans who love them, the, “I’ll do what I can with what I have” career model cannot be allowed to continue to dominate the industry.
Social media and the music industry as a whole should concede that it is in all parties best interest to be equally exposed to high-quality recordings and performances.
The time has come to do what is necessary to ensure that great recordings and performances are given the same platform as the shiny, new, and outrageous.
Besides the nuts and bolts mentioned above that make an industry work from a business standpoint, there are also intangibles needed by artists for the inspiration required to create products worth building an industry around to begin with.
Without all of the above aspects of the industry on-line and hitting on all cylinders, todays music industry lacks the drive and angst once provided by the ever-elusive, “major label recording contract” so sought after by artists in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
This condition provided the inspiration required for the creation of masterpieces such as, Fleetwood Macs’, “Rumours” and Toto, “IV”.
Indeed, we may not see another recording masterpiece until the universal dream of success in music once again includes worldwide recognition as a recording artist at the cost of unimaginable hard work.