Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Digital Music Business FAQ

Valerie Walsh asks:

What the hell is going on in the music business? Is everybody fiddling as Rome burns? Is there a plan for the future?

Hartmann responds:

Welcome to The Gold Rush - The Digital Music Business

When no bag is ubiquitous all genres are viable. We have entered The Music Renaissance and the future of the Music Industry has never been brighter. The thousands of years old concert business will not evaporate because the postmodern record business has reached the end of its dominant era. The double edged sword of the Internet has cut the big four labels to their knees. It is also the instrument carving the future of recorded music. The paradigm shift is toward the artist. No longer will popular music be dictated from corporate board rooms. The next great star will rise up from the cyber-grass-roots and suddenly explode on the web. Should only the degree of affection we held for The Beatles land on a new artist, a monumental windfall could make such an act instantly famous and vastly rich in one day. Would you have stolen from Elvis or The Beatles?

It would defy the historical trajectory for such a phenomenon not to occur. If everybody with an iPod decided to purchase rather than "share" a particular song a multi million dollar fortune would be made instantly. The pursuit of this potential has a fertile garden and an army of contestants. Millions post their music online every day. This creates a giant hay stack of brass needles. Everybody with a Guitar Hero badge and a Mac can write a song and make a record. But they are not necessarily talented. The challenge is to find the golden needles among the brass. It can't be done by surfing the web. The battle is fought in the live arena.

The digital convergence has vastly expanded the core audience for music. Every song ever recorded is available online for free. Nothing can stop the tide of peer-to-peer file sharing. It is not regarded by the participants as theft. The music is "shared" for the benefit of artist and fan. They regard record companies as the enemy of the artist and they are correct in that presumption. Since the moral quotient has no consideration nothing can stop the practice. The new music industry entrepreneur must accept the fact that paying for music is a choice not a necessity.

The listening experience has come full circle. Music lovers are addressing one song at a time. They no longer have to buy ten songs they don't want to get the one they like. After all, they are not paying for it and nobody steals something he doesn't want. The record business is over, and bands must give their music away to create a following. Downloads are easy to distribute. If enough people "share" your music they will come to your gig out of curiosity.

If you have a great live act they will fall in love and buy the CD from you even though they already have the music or they wouldn't be there. If they go for a t-shirt as well good for you. They saw MTV and are aware that purchasing your merch is a gesture of admiration, affection and support. The artist and the audience are now directly linked and the new infrastructure for the monetization of music will be constructed according to this principal. The artist is the publisher, manager and label and he must own and control all income streams just to survive. Ten percent of the artists will split one hundred percent of the money.

The big four record labels will continue to shrink and ultimately become banking institutions. They will try to buy the acts that succeed. By the time the labels know what is happening the artists won't need them. Their distribution system evaporated with the brick and mortar stores. Radio has been their long time weapon of justification but everybody listens to his iPod.

There is only one template for how to pursue careers in the current environment. If you are going to turn your music into a survival mechanism you must first learn how to play the digital music business game. You must play perfectly well, have talent and get lucky to win. The process begins with education. The systems, mechanics, protocols and politics of how to get started can be found at The Holodigm. The golden needles are invited to join the revolution in the digital music renaissance. Make music your business. Make business your music. Learn how, right now at:

1 comment:

ValGalArt said...

gee, i must be losing my mind, I cannot for the life of me remember asking this question??? I must be going senile as I have no interest whatsoever in the music industry! hahahhahaha!