“Power to the people, power to the people, power to the people, power to the people right on”John Lennon
As you walk along your music career path you’ll hear all kinds of predictions about the health and viability of the music industry as a whole and generally the predictions seem to be on the negative side of the spectrum.
I, on the other hand, want to put forward another view. I think that the music industry has evolved into something where the people have the power to change outcomes, not record labels and corporations.
To me, the music industry has not died but it’s been evolving and will continue to evolve, and we, as either musicians and/or consumers, have the power to shape the consequences of this evolutionary process.
I watched a documentary about the rise of Wal-Mart some time ago and it explained how Wal-Mart had effectively changed the relationship between manufacturers and retailers.
I found this concept interesting and very relevant to what’s been happening in the music business.
In the past, it used to be that the manufacturer would determine what gets made and it was the retailers job to “push” the item onto the consumer but now it is the retailer who are calling the shots, telling manufacturers what products are to be sold through them and therefore “pulling” the stock onto the shelves.
Can you see a parallel between the manufacturer/retailer relationship and the record label/consumer relationship?
Today the balance of power is with the consumer with the now non-existance of sales figures for CD’s giving way to astronomical music streaming numbers through companies like Spotify being a prime example of the effect that shift in power is having on the industry itself.
Nowadays more music is being created and distributed independently than ever before and while in the past, the record labels acted as a gate-keeper of quality of sorts with the relationship between artist and fan was through the label.
In today’s music industry that artist/fan relationship is very much a direct two way street. It’s all about evolving communities, it’s all about people power.
What does this mean for the music industry as a whole? It’s one HUGE opportunity to embrace the changes and not fight against the inevitable and with music streaming becoming the norm, record labels are now starting to catch up to the rest of us.
Always remember, independent music (and the independence in music) is gaining market share everyday and the best thing is that it is we, the people that is enacting that power-shift.
Who knows what the future of the music industry will hold as there’s still a lot of uncharted territory to cover but you got to admit, right now is a great time to be a songwriter, musician or artist.
Until next time, just get out there and do it,
All About Music Business