We’ve long been told that the music industry is dead, and that the Internet is responsible for killing it off. However, with the stats showing that the music industry has actually been booming once again in 2018, it’s time to acknowledge that things have simply changed. Thanks to streaming, round-the-clock updates, and more tours than ever before, we’re in a new era with lots of exciting experiences.
The Music You Want, Whenever You Want It
Top 40 radio is insufferable for those of us who absolutely despise mainstream music. However, with streaming, which is said to account for 75% of music industry revenue, you can listen to literally anything you want across a plethora of different genres. In addition, services like Spotify send notifications based on your interests and allow you to find new artists and albums in addition to the ones you already know and love. If anything, this makes the possibilities endless when it comes to music enjoyment.
In fact, streaming may have saved the music industry. In the early 2000s, when downloading music illegally was all everyone was doing, the future looked bleak. But now, people are willing to pay for subscriptions, to gain access to ad-free music, curated playlists, new and old artists, and much more. The main issue that will need addressing is whether prices should be raised as currently, artists are not seeing much of this revenue.
Artists Have New Ways To Connect With Audiences
Artists can now share every aspect of their lives with their fans on social media. This has two-fold benefits: the fans love it because they feel more involved with everything from an artist’s day-to-day life to the creative process itself, and artists love it, not only from an egotistical perspective, but because they can find new ways to capitalise on these interactions. It’s great for increasing their reach and such insights can really boost their PR.
In the past, fan clubs were all the rage, but these days, they’re dying out. There are so many ways to show your love of a band, from buying merchandise that goes beyond boring old T-shirts, to engaging with the band in new ways, such as music themed vacations. Of course, with our increasingly digital generation finding ways to merge all the things they love together (such as travel and music), music fans are finding just about every aspect of their life has been touched by the bands they love. For example, gamers can now choose from an abundance of online music-themed games, with artists such as Guns N’ Roses now endorsing online casino games on a range of sites, not to mention the ever-popular Rock Band franchise. These integrated music experiences are yet another way bands can generate income.
The Focus Has Simply Shifted
For a time, it looked like all hope was lost because record sales were down. These days, the money in music is simply found elsewhere. Touring is now said to be the most important part of a musician’s revenue, and why? Because it allows you to get up close and personal with them. Artists can reach their fans - both established, and new ones, by playing with reputable acts or at world-class venues and festivals. By doing this, they grow their audiences.
Of course, the lack of money being made through selling albums has led to a shift in our habits as well. Many artists have diversified into selling more merchandise than ever before, or even offering VIP packages which include the opportunity for “Meet & Greets” with the band, to go backstage, or to watch a soundcheck. However, this is seen as controversial - with some artists posing the ethical question of whether it’s right to charge people to meet fellow humans.
It becomes clear that as we begin a new year, the music industry must continue to adapt and change with each new generation. There’s still space for music of all genres, but the emphasis is now on offering fans experiences, whether that’s the chance to interact on social media, or to see (or even meet) the band on tour. It’s up to you how you choose to support the industry.