Welcome to a new segment NVMP is calling Music Questions, where we ask our team to think outside of the box and answer music related questions. As always, we want your input too! Simple leave your answer in a comment form on this page or answer on our facebook fan page here.
Where do you think the music industry is headed in 2011?
Social media and the digital revolution. Clearly we’ve all seen the impacts that social media sites have had on the masses, and it’s only a matter of time until the industry can tap into this free resource and squeeze it dry like everything else. By using these sites to promote new music and shows, post videos and contests, sell merchandise, give play lists, it makes you think why bands even bother with websites. Social media sites (facebook, purevolume, soundcloud, etc.) open easy on smart phones, meaning you can take the info anywhere and share with everyone, digitally. With the growing increase of Quick Codes (those funny looking barcode squares), bands can put them on websites, fliers, stickers, really anywhere for fans to easily access their information without having to type in long web address or click a million links to get to the right page. I do fear for the downfall of MySpace Music and am curious as to who will be the reining champion (most likely Facebook), for more on that, check out this article http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/analysis-where-will-musicians-go-after-myspace-1004138990.story .
I hope the music industry is headed away from the unoriginal, cash cow, tween-centric, auto-tuned talentless asshats that seem to be populating the music scene in order to grab the market segment that has the most spending power, but since the world is supposed to end in 2012 anyway, I don’t see that happening. As long as mediocre rappers lay their repetitive, lame lyrics over equally repetitive, headache-inducing beats and Taylor Swift writes whiny songs about all her celebrity ex-boyfriends, the Top 40 music scene will continue its downward spiral into the abyss.
If the past is any indication of the future, then I think the music industry is going to keep adapting to technology. It seems with the initial unwillingness of the industry to embrace digital media is falling by the wayside and having music available live and streaming 24/7 isn’t so scary to the big wigs anymore. My personal favorite? The smart phone app known as Pandora. I feel like this application surpasses the iPod because it allows the user to have a plethora of varied and changing music at all times, even offering like and dislike buttons to better accommodate the listener’s musical tastes. On the contrary, with an iPod the user must download to a computer with iTunes, purchase songs and upload them. Should the user get sick and tired of the tunes being carrying around on the iPod, it’s back to the drawing board to get more (that is if you’re not like me and you don’t sit in front of the computer wracking your brain over what music it is you want to have). That being said, I think we will continue to see the music industry become more digitally accessible and affordable. I like the idea of being able to have the opportunity for new music to hit me at any and all times no matter where I may be or who I am with it’s inevitable; everyone has a phone.
More digitization and more globalization. With the breakneck invention of all kinds of media platforms popping up each day, be they music related like Soundcloud, Mixcloud and the like, or social media networks, the music industry will be expanding into every nook and cranny of the internet. On another level, get ready for more auto-tuned pop sensations. At the risk of sounding cynical, we’re sadly due for another Ke$ha or Lady Gaga type somewhere in music, and not necessarily pop music. More record labels are going to realize flamboyance of character and auto-tuned R&B artists are selling. It’s sad but it’s happening.
The music industry is due for some kind of renaissance, if for nothing else, the sake of self-preservation. Many will argue that digital download killed the rock n’ roll star, but I would almost contend that it’s the industry itself that imploded, much like the housing market and the U.S. economy thereafter. Profiteering gluttons saw people like you and me willing to, 1) blatantly steal music via the internet and respond with utter disgust and outrage when the tax man came a knockin’, and 2) settle for paying $0.99 a song via a digital portal like iTunes or Amazon. Goodbye $15 dollar CD (which, unless you’re pre-millennial Metallica, usually only contained one or two tracks that you actually felt worth your money). The old fogies at the top of the music industry pyramid will curse themselves to the grave for not keeping savvy with their computer skills, because all it would’ve taken was reasonable evolution to keep up with the times, instead of the same-old-same-old kicking, screaming and threatening of legal action until the music-consuming public fell back into lock-step. They’re still holding their breaths while Apple laughs all the way to the bank. Kind of sad.
I think the industry is heading further and further down the rabbit hole of doom, and watching the business side of it burn so gloriously has never been more beautiful, and more deserved. Death to the industry that created Lady GaGa (and her uber-merchandising, product placement ridden, music killing machine), that convinced Duran Duran that working with Timbaland was a good idea, that championed jailbirds like Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, T.I., etc., while downplaying the crimes that they committed (just chalking it all up to the “Normal Lifestyle of a Rapper/Musician/Completely Over-Paid Asshole). Death to the labels that for some reason cannot compute how the industry will survive without physical means of selling and distributing music, to the electives that continue to bilk musicians out of their musical and artistic rights and still have the nerve to continue telling their artists what to do and how to sound, even though their advice has never worked for anyone, regardless of the state of music business. Good riddance to an industry where people only looked out for themselves, when a solid 99% of their jobs consisted of looking out for other people, namely their clients. Fuck you music industry and hello to band’s creating their own destinies. We all know that the wretched industry will never go away, but perhaps in 2011, bands will get the opportunities that they deserve by creating their own destinies, and refusing to wait for the execs that were supposed to give them a hand and building their own empires. In 2011, the artist will assert its own independence, so the music industry can jerk itself off with both hands, and remove its sleazy, now completely useless self from the equation.
Oh the music industry….What can one really say that could draw any obvious conclusions? Well, there is nothing anyone can say. The fact is the music industry is a business constantly funded by major conglomerates who have to keep it going no matter what. Only recently, the music industry has come to the realization that it needs to catch up with technology and make the consumer and the passion for music #1 again. Music once represented a revolution and later crossed into this cool underground scene where one could say anything. My contacts have made it very clear to me that it will be the young entrepreneurs who are going to change the image of the industry. It’s all about the graphic artists, computer programmers, web designers, and administrative workers that will redesign the whole industry, but they too have to want it. In the end, we may have to make hard decisions, but as long as we make the best decision for ourselves and our passions others will later follow. The industry will go through a renaissance period, but it won’t be today or tomorrow and it won’t last forever. And realistically, in the end, everyone at some point becomes a little bit of a sell out because they have to put food on the table.