When it comes to music I like to think of myself as a traditional kind of aficionado; those often defined by a rather hefty CD collection which at times seems more dutiful than desired. That said, it breaks my heart to see youngsters downloading songs on their iPods or mobile phones, only to delete the track a week later. What ever happened to the appreciation of an artist and the treasuring of their works?
Whether we like it or not, the music landscape is changing. A US based study conducted by Digital Music News showed a huge decline in physical CD sales over the last ten years. Based on RIAA revenue figures, the total number of CD sales in the year 2000 was 92.3 % of total recording revenue. In 2010 this figure dropped to a shocking 49.1% of total recording revenue.
Music as it was understood in the past is no longer the way that music can be viewed in the future. Firstly, the technology previously used to record and produce music has evolved; this changes the entire game plan. Today the recording of music is a straightforward task that can be accomplished by almost anyone and at a minor cost as well. With more people having access to recording technologies, we find that the variety in product has increased, giving the public more to choose from. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, the quality of the product needs to be taken into consideration, which brings me to my second point.
The distribution of song has also become a thorny affair. Since music is so readily available to anyone at anytime on the web, the ability to filtrate the quality of product that is made available to the public becomes merely impossible. So what does this mean for the artist?
We find that musicians are starting to manage themselves as a business. Making music means establishing a brand and selling your brand to the public. Albums are seen merely as business cards, a simple example of your work.
Chris Ghelakis, CEO of Electromode explains that music has endured its full circle. We have witnessed evolution from the years when music was only available through its live performance; through to its state as a physical product; and now it has returned to the reality of gigs as a substantial source of income.
David Byrne stated that “before recording technology existed, you could not separate music from its social context. You couldn’t take it home, copy it or sell it as a commodity”. Since music has become so easily accessible, due to the growing use of information technology, one can no longer control the trade and distribution of music as a product.
Live performances are the way of the future for musicians and record companies alike. With artists like Die Heuwels Fantasties, Jack Parow, Dr Victor and Rasta Rebels etc. performing almost every single night of the week across the country, we see the new face of the music industry emerging from its dying roots.