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Thursday
May192011

Question: Is this the best or the worst time for independent musicians?

The question: Is this the best or the worst time for independent musicians to be successful?

So here we are, in a world where the power to make, publish and become extremely successful from our own music has been stolen from the almighty gatekeepers. We no longer need third party executives to direct us, we don’t need giant media conglomerates to get our music out to a captive market. We no longer need to pay exorbitant amounts of money to people who don’t really deserve it.

Why? Because the tools, the technology and the means have been delivered right to our doorsteps. We can thank people like Sean Fanning (of Napster) for changing the way we discover music, and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) for delivering communication to the entire world right into our hands, and for developing an even wider network of social sharing.

Now for a fraction of the cost of going to a professional recording studio, musicians can set up their own home studio and make equally stunning recordings. They can upload to a digital distributor such as CD Baby, and within 48 hours their music can be sitting alongside the major players in iTunes, etc.

The internet has shared for free every piece of vital information a musician will ever need to achieve success (let’s put aside the fact that success is not a singularly quantifiable entity for now), and thanks to services such as YouTube, anyone can be famous if they have content of value to promote.

It is truly a magical time for musicians, and one that we should definitely make the most of.

With that in mind, is this the best time for independent musicians?

But…

I can’t help but wonder if this is a double-edged sword? As more and more people make the most of the opportunities right now, do we all ultimately begin to suffer due to the increased competition?

Consider the blowout sales that major department stores have every now and then. You know the sales I’m talking about- when everything in the store is reduced to a fraction of its original cost and all the exclusive items are now within everyone’s means to buy. We’ve all see the footage - thousands of people queuing for hours to be first in, stampeding through the front door, fighting over items and screaming like wild animals.

What’s the result? Well the lucky and most determined of them will snap up the best stuff. Others aren’t so lucky because there’s a limited amount of stock on sale.

Why? Because the store has levelled the playing field and given everyone an opportunity to get what was previously for the priveleged minority.

My feeling is that the music industry is like this now. With all of the millions of musicians scrambling to be heard (and only a limited amount of ears to hear them - like the limited sales stock in the store), are we at a disadvantage? Are we running out of ways to creatively market to our fans? Will people ever get bored of the oceans of music out there to hear?

Yes, quality will always triumph over quantity, but will it only get harder for quality to be noted in the vast sea of quantity?

With that in mind, is this the worst time for independent musicians?

Please, I’d be very grateful for your input.

I originally posted this over on my blog, so please feel free to comment away! There is also a thread over on LinkedIn where this question has been asked too.

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (37)

Good article, here's my take:

Increased competition or not, more independent musicians are succeeding now than ever before, so in the absence of any data that says a lot more people are actually making music, that is good for independent musicians. Increased competition then does not change the number of independent musicians who will be successful, it just changes which of them succeed.

Now, the successful ones are chosen more by how good their music is. That sounds good to me; independent musicians should be able to succeed by making good music, rather than learning to be good at marketing.

Either way, the fans certainly win, and musicians are generally big fans themselves!

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Kay

It is a double-edged sword, its easy to distribute your music on the Net and create yourself presence but discovery is completely different story. Noise levels are huge and new filters will pop up to sort information for people, might be internet radios and podcasts or some upcoming TV show on the net, might be music blogs and sites like Pandora, Spotify etc can really become filters and therefore NEW gatekeepers in music industry.

What goes around comes around..

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterAdrijus

I think it's the best time, but the HARDEST time to be one.

Right now, music needs a shake up, especially outside of the standard pop, hip hop, or other mainstream areas. There's no one really in the rock, metal, punk or anything that is bouncing in the mainstream. Paramore perhaps, but they are kinda dying down ever since the whole splitting thing.

It's just EVERYONE and their mom's wants to be a star but not all the tools. There are a THOUSAND amazing singers on youtube, yet they probably couldn't write a good song to save their lives. And no one wants to work for it. The whole art of notebook and guitar on your side, and writing a song in a coffee shop is dead because people just are at their laptops making their average music sound good.

And it sucks because now the average listener's standards are so low thanks to the music out there, anything over the top good is looked down on because it's too complicated.

So I believe, its the best time, but the most difficult time.

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Yadao

I don't think it is necessarily the worst time for independent musicians. I think the overall shift will change the dream of becoming a rock star with 100,000 fans filling a stadium to watch you play. Making a comfortable living as a musician will be more prevalent over the coming years but the salaries of these musicians will be much lower than it was the last 50 years. It will be an environment of many more musicians all making a median-level income instead of a few musicians making very high incomes. Websites will have to make changes in order to help people sort through all this music, that is for sure. Website like Pandora and Last.FM will definitely have a large presence in music discovery, but these sites don't always produce the best results. A site needs to come out with some sort of randomization factor involved and make it easy to browse through all this music. The only one I have been able to find is a website called TuneTraveler.com, they use a 3D browsing software that makes it fast and easy to surf through musicians and sample their music. The problem is the site appears to have just launched so their library of music is very limited. Hopefully, musicians will catch on to the site soon. Looks like it has some great potential to help people sort through all this up and coming music. Especially with MySpace disappearing from the scene, musicians will need to move somewhere and it seems TuneTraveler.com could be a good option for them to get their music exposed.

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterTim

has always struck me that all of this stuff is best understood not as a new thing, but as a return to pre-phonographic modes of creativity. The dominant model of bands, revenue and all that is a very modern thing in the history of music.

Nothing is ever as simple as returning to the past, though and it will be a "strange return" ... but i think we will see increasingly obvious echoes of pre-20th C dynamics of music-musician-audience relationship. Entirely fluid sense of ownership, localised scenes where division between professional and amateur is largely meaningless / ignored, greater emphasis on the event, rather than the product. Some of these things are, obviously, already occurring.

Personally, as both performing artist and audience member, i'm energised by a return to these kinds of forms of creativity. Stadiums & CDs ... long may they burn.

May 19 | Unregistered Commenterdavid gunn

Under the old music business, if an artist was lucky enough to be chosen, they might get the opportunity to make a great sounding record. If that release wasn't mishandled by the label, they might build a fan base, and if they were really lucky, they might make enough money for the label and earn themselves the chance to do it again.

Now, artists can make a great sounding record for very little and there is no one stopping them from doing so. There are plenty of tools for them to market their release and build a fan base. If they make great music that people love, they have a good chance of making some money.

Is music succes really all about the money though? I posed that question to the artist community on my blog.

That's always been the way I felt, I remember when Myspace was big, and you could discover music. So I went in and started listening to random music from artists in the genre I liked. What happened was very interesting. I found that after listening to several pages full of artists. There wasn't good music at all. It was very amateur and sounded badly. So 2 things wen't thru my head the first thing is Ill just stick to the ones I know sound good, and stop wasting my time with all this crap music. And the second thought was. Wow my music sounds much better than this I have a chance here! Well I loaded up my music like the thousands of artists that did it. And yes a lot of people like it, but I got swallowed up in a sea of artists, and I had to promote my site to get more traffic. Back then I didn't know much about music marketing so I left it alone. Now Ive learned a lot since then. But the reality of this industry is this. If you don't have massive marketing behind you, or word of mouth working for you, or some kind of social proof its going to be hard to keep listeners, and even harder to get them to spend a single dime in your music. Why would they they get it for free if the want it bad enough. Plus if they can't get it for free they have millions of artist that will happily give it away for free. So I guess Ill continue to add value and reasons to buy. Put together bundles and see what happens. But I gotta tell you you got to actively pursue getting your own traffic to your website, because now days in the internet everyone has ADD, and if you don't capture them while you can. They'll move on to the next million musicians competing for their attention. I can honestly say this is the WORST industry to be involved in if you want to make money. The reason I do it I guess is cause I love it. But I wonder how long can people afford to put out great music without making a profit before they deside to call it a day and do something else with their life. Me me its not a choice.

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterChris

There is NO level playing field.

No matter what opportunities new technologies afford you, there will always be someone with more money, more time, more energy, more youth, more drive, more deviousness. Anyone with enough cash and time can buy their way into any field.

The advantage you have is your own willingness to do the hard work. Are you willing to keep writing, recording, releasing and performing, even when nobody's paying attention? Even when the money ain't all that good?

What all this incredible technology has done is lower the cost of entry. So yes, you'll have increased competition. Don't worry about it. The ones who aren't truly committed will wash out once they realize how just how dang difficult it is to be good.

May 19 | Unregistered Commenterscottandrew

I think there is more music out there now than people have time to listen to.

Having a telephone listing in the phone book doesn't cause people to call you; having a web page doesn't allow people to find your music unless they are already *looking for it*.

And why would they be looking for it?

It takes big money to advertise your existence. That's why record labels focused on a few acts and poured money into them. Then they also kept the majority of any revenue that came of it. It was a venture capital business.

Today, as an independent, *you* have to have the money to spend to advertise your existence to your niche.

Think you can do it with Facebook? I doubt it. Too many others are already pestering their friends to please listen to their home studio recordings.

Having a CD is no big deal any more. It's just not enough to make people interested. Everybody knows somebody who "has a CD out" these days.

My hope is that sometime in the next five years a real discovery service will evolve that connects music listeners to musicians who make the exact kind of music they like. That doesn;t exist today. Only the bigger musicians get on, say Pandora, as far as I have heard.

May 19 | Registered CommenterGlenn Galen

Over-supply of music across the web is really theoretical. In practice individual music fans follow a limited number of blogs, magazines, stations, or forums, etc.

There are now hundreds of these filters and they too have their fans and followers. Of course there is more competition, even for this increased number filters, but that competition is now closer to reality (i.e. the music that is out there).

In this new arena masses of hopeful, average artists will make no headway whatsoever and masses more will fail utterly... but at least they now have a shot at getting heard.

For sure, the more research an artist does and the more contacts they make the further they will get, but no filter will survive if they promote a weak range of artists compared to the next blog, etc. This is as close to ideal, for new artists and music fans, as I can imagine.

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Andrew,
I generally agree with all of your points, however I would like to mention on thing as devil's advocate. You rightfully state: "independent musicians should be able to succeed by making good music, rather than learning to be good at marketing." Without outside funding, I argue that independent artists have to spend so much time learning how to use their new home studio, managing their social media, reading their analytics, booking tours, designing / manufacturing merch, and a myriad of other activities, that there is little to no time to make the art. This too is a double edged sword in that it removes the labels as a barrier to entry, but creates a new barrier in that only people who put in TONS of effort will be able to succeed. I only worry that this will result in a decline of musicality... well these are my thoughts. Feel free to respond. I'm open to hear other people's ideas on this.
-J ReD

Here in Brazil we see a slight different scenario, because we have cultural differences in the sense that internet users are very active (growth and usage of twitter and facebook here are shocking), but internet access is still restricted to about 40% of the population.

When it comes to music, my opinion is a bit more optimistic. The internet, as you mentioned, opened up a lot of possibilities for musicians, and with it i feel like it has restructured the music market. What i mean is that now independent musicians have the possibility not only to use new tools that are poping up like crazy, but also a chance to create new ones.

I mean, competition is fierce, but those who figure out how to use the available tools can make it, and those who manage to go beyond can set up new benchmarks

This also reflects in the fact that more musicians are taking their band seriously and actually believing that they can live off music, something that was mostly a dream a decade ago.

Summing up, the music market is mature enough to allow healthy competition, giving fair chances for everyone, and therefore rewarding those who work harder. Also, the good thing about music is that the competition is not as rigid as we see in other markets, being that a consumer is always open to be surprised and to consume another band without having to replace their consumption of a previous one.

In that sense, i've developed a social network that is growing quickly in Brazil, whose main focus is to give musicians more and more tools (both on and offline) to make their living off music a little bit easier.

"Now for a fraction of the cost of going to a professional recording studio, musicians can set up their own home studio and make equally stunning recordings."
I keep hearing people saying this. I'm forced to wonder if they are talking about using pirated software? Which to me is funny that people complain about music piracy & then thing pirating software is okay. Anyway.... You can find plenty of good studios only charging $50 an hour & *if* you practice enough 40 hours should be possible to record your album to at least a quality you would get at home. Especially if you want to use "good" mics, setting up a good studio in your house is still a pricey situation.

There is too much focus on the internet. A band must play blow away live shows and have quality recordings of killer songs, the same as it's always been. The internet is useful yes, but live is where it will always build.

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterCory Blight

I think it is all good and well to talk about how awesome the tools are for making and sharing your music but it's misguided and a bit like going on and on about how great (and bad) it is to be a carpenter these days because hammers and nails have never been cheaper.

Look, for my money you have to look at the market forces at play and assess your situation using the most fundamental principle;

That is, demand for a scarce good makes it valuable.

The problem being is that a digital good is, for all intents and purposes, abundant and free (you can either listen to it or find a fileshare download) so what makes your good scarce and worthy of demand?

Regardless of all the online fruit and social networking sauce if you want to get traction and coin you will need a killer live show that leaves the 5, 10 or 500 folks present powerless in resisting to buy the CD, the LP, the stickers, T-shirts and sign up to the mailing list.

So, back to the hammers and nails ... are you framing junk kit homes in the suburbs or crafting a magical cabin on a mountain?

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterThe Money

It's defintely a double-edged sword. I do believe that it is still THE best time (up to this point) to be a musician because there is so much potential. If you want to make a record or record songs you can do so moderately cheap and you don't have to worry about execs mucking with your vision. That couldn't really be said before, but without the heavy marketing a multimillion dollar label can provide you may not see much success since no one will know who you even are or know to listen to you.

I was thinking about this last night while recording and it was harder in different ways when comparing "now" to "then". I believe pre-Pro-Tools it was harder to be a musician because you actually had to spend more time on your craft practicing because once you got into the studio you didn't have the easy edits and time to fix mistakes like you do now. I think it's harder now because where you can spend less time recording you have to fill the role's of editing and mixing (possibly) AND you have to learn and spend time marketing.

In the end, I would say that musicians of yesteryear had it better just because they could make more money at what they do. If they weren't signed, then they could still get paid to play n bars and clubs, selling their own music and merchandise. Now there are a lot less places paying musicians to play and it's harder to sell their music. A large part of this is due to the fact that there is way more entertainment competeing for people's attention and people take music in general more for granted.

It's really hard being a successful musician. I see actors and painters, jewelry makers and writers all around me making at least some kind of living from their trade, all less costly and somewhat less time consuming while it seems harder than ever to be just as successful as a musician. Problem is, all of the others are mostly a one stop shop. They invest a certain amount into their trade, make or do their job and then get paid. With music, you really need to build an audience and already have ton of money to invest in marketing. Obviously, any of these trades will benefit with more fans and exposure, but music depends on it more to the point of make or break.

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterChancius

check your bank balance and then consider this: if you were previously successful and now are no longer signed to a label the answer is potentially yes.

If you are a new artist and hope to spend a few years concentrating on your art, then, no, as you will ether spend a huge amount of your time promoting yourself in competition with other, bigger budgets whilst possibly breaking even, or you will resign yourself to having a day job and not caring if you sell your recordings as long as you can do a gig at the Dog and Duck in front of your wife's friends (you won't have any friends of your own for obvious reasons).

Added to this, the chances of getting signed, eventually, by a forward thinking indie or subsidiary are severely reduced and you will be expected to arrive with a fully functioning fanbase.

Unless you are Amanda Palmer. Always unless you are Amanda Palmer.

May 19 | Registered CommenterTim London

The language here is very telling. When you are 'marketing' to 'fans' the strong implication is still that of the old rock-star model, where the Great Musician exists on some remote mountaintop and from time to time deigns to descend in order to bless their acolytes with a new album or tour.

I don't think that mindset is workable any longer.

People operating the fully independent pay-what-you-want model, such as Matt Stevens, Steve Lawson and many others, don't seem to be 'marketing' to 'fans'. Rather, they are making connections with listeners, many of whom then choose to be patrons.

The power relationship has been reversed. Whether you like it or not - and many don't - people don't have to pay for your music any more, but if, through your music, you can forge a genuine emotional connection, they will voluntarily choose to do so.

That absolutely doesn't mean that musicians can no longer make the music they want to make - quite the opposite. It's immediately obvious when the music doesn't come from the heart, and no-one has time for that stuff. But it does mean that the Great Musician on the mountaintop needs to have a Big Think about the way they approach the people who love and support their music, and the whole concept of 'fan' is now something very different from before.

I'm not 'marketing' to 'fans'. I'm trying to make connections with listeners, and to find the people who love my music enough to become patrons and voluntarily choose to pay for it, in order to support me in my goal of making more music. So far, so good.

May 19 | Registered CommenterWayne Myers

Very Interesting discussion.
What I would like to ad is that one of the most important things you didn´t mention is the other side: what people are looking for.
Nowadays there´s not only more music than hourse people can hear it, but also, there is less patience.
Today it´s the time of singles, not albums...today it´s the time of short songs...the time of surprise your audience with quality, original music, but just in a few seconds, or otherwise they´ll change track and listen another band.
What I wonder nowadays is how a band can really stand up above the rest? They might have amazing quality, amazing songs, original...but is this enough?..NO.
Even if you know a lot of marketing and social media...you need more...
I think the clue is to be amazing live...maybe is slower to be famous in this way, but I´m quite sure it will take you far away...

May 20 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

I think everyone today can make good quality production and sell with few money spent but....the goal is promotion, and that's not a musician skill, you still need staff, money and time for that.
But the main reason while I think that "Indie Musicians time" will never come (even if I am one) is that the possibility to have everything gratis on their desktop made people losing the real interest in searching for bands to be true fans, to look for their gigs.......there is more people that want to be listened that the ones that listen......and buy :(

You can make good music, having 10000 "like" on your page, but there is no more "cult" or real interest around music and musicians, the joy to discover something or someone new.....I don't really know if we have to thank Sean Fanning or Mark Zuckerberg, I don't.....but that's the story and we can do nothing.
Play music for yourself, maybe something will happen but don't waste time thinking about what :)

cheers

@wayne - 'shiver'

It's so unusual for people to mention anyone other than the normal DIY success stories I checked out Matt Stevens (already knew about Steve Lawson) to check a theory.

'when the music doesn't come from the heart, and no-one has time for that stuff.' speaks volumes. There is a genre, or collection of genres, which you could call generically authentic sounding, championed by fans as being somehow above other kinds of pop. It's the old pop V rock argument slotted into the internet.

But the point of the conversations inspired by the post above is that they should be applicable to all kinds of genres, including the stuff that comes from the feet, the head or the wallet. It's an economic model, not a glee club.

The idea of fans as 'patrons' who allow anyone to make music makes me cringe. Get some lead in your pencil! If you meet someone and you get on and you end up friends then that's wonderful. But automatically placing these people in that special place in your heart because they deign to give you money for something you made or do sounds like the worse kind of begging.

May 20 | Registered CommenterTim London

It's better in many ways but I think it's impossible to generalise as different genres of music and types of performer are effected differently by the possibilities of digital recording and distribution.

The point made about differing levels of internet access in different countries is very important indeed and different genres have different issues with independent musicians. It's a different world in Classical music than it is in Indie Rock for example.

Things seem very much in flux in the music business at the moment, so it may not be the ideal time to be an independent musician but it is definitely an exciting one.

It is certainly the only time we're going to have to do it ideal or not.

May 20 | Unregistered CommenterRuben Kenig

I quote Jorge, to be amazing live could be the last trademark for a band.
Anyway, without a real global spread so that you are asked for serious gigs your life is shorter and limited to searching fans on social networks....and that is really sad and unuseful.
Indie Label never spent money for promotion, or at least not enough. Indie Bands also can not spend all day in front of a computer to reach fans that don't really care about that.
Sadly Majors are still the only way to break because they really got the greatest networks and the bands can really play and make money.
But Majors don't sell because of pirate downloads so I don't know where we are going........the moment is good because if I write a song I can make it heard by a friend on the other side of the wolrd, but nothing more in my opinion.
I think Social Networks are a big illusion. CIAO

I think it is. Too much "noise" out there and the average person just is not going to spend the time necessary to find new music beyond what's played on top 40 radio. That's just reality. I would love to meet all these independent musicians who are making a living playing music. I've never met one, ever, in any genre. Of course if you consider living out of your van a living, maybe then I guess I know a couple of those.

May 20 | Unregistered CommenterBen

The important thing here is that different business models will work well for different artists. For example the patronage/pay what you want model used by Matt Stevens and Steve Lawson would work less well for artists less connected to their audience.

It's always the worst time to be an independent musician.

May 21 | Unregistered CommenterVersus

@tim

Firstly, I don't agree with you about the music from the heart thing. To me that's not a genre, it's a definition of 'good' across all genres. I don't care if you're making straight-up pop, techno, death metal, deep garage or running a chamber quartet: unless it's coming from the heart it's never going to compete with those in the same genre who really love and understand what they are doing, and the difference is audible to those with ears to hear it.

Secondly, you misunderstand my point about the emotional connection. I'm not saying you should be a suck-up - quite the reverse - you've got to do your own thing on your own terms. I'm also saying you need to find people who will fall in love with your music enough to pay for it even though they do not have to because they want to help you make more. In this age of free availability of just about everything I'm open to the idea of alternative workable models, but for now I haven't seen one.

May 21 | Registered CommenterWayne Myers

@Wayne - that's clearer, but it's probably safer to leave the 'from the heart' element out of it, as one person's 'from the heart' is another's LMFAO.

Finding people who will fall in love with your music enough to pay will be a desperate struggle. That's why there are so few instances of successful DIYers and why the labels still exist.

I don't have a replacement economic model - I haven't met anyone who has. I don't believe there is one. There is the mutated established label system and there are the new exploiters and there are loads of part-timers. That's all.

May 21 | Registered CommenterTim London

A couple years ago I would have had an answer but in 2011, I don't care either way.

It would be nice if everyone else got out of my way and all, but I don't need them to.

I have more power than I know what to do with.

That keeps me too busy to worry about subjective value judgements on complex phenomena I only barely understand.

Question really should be "is this the best or worst time for music fans". I'd say no way. Nobody is going to spend the amount of time necessary to dig through all the crap to find a new band.. especially when now there are thousands and thousands of these indie bands who all have albums they recorded on their Macbook and they all, let's face it, suck.

May 23 | Unregistered CommenterBen

@ Ben - "especially when now there are thousands and thousands of these indie bands who all have albums they recorded on their Macbook and they all, let's face it, suck."

That is definitely a biased opinion! I can personally say that not everything I take a listen to is going to make my iPod list. Neither are most things. I will, however, come upon stuff I do like that I've never heard of before or are definitely not household names. Even when I do sample music that I don't like or I'm not into I still can tell the difference between it being bad or that I'm personally just not into that type of sound or whatever the musicians are doing.

What the internet has done is open up the very small genres and cliques of music that existed before. I personally don't like death metal sounding music, but I run into it all the time. I may not like it, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's just not for me. There are plenty of top 40 bands and musicians who have sold millions of albums and won grammy's that I feel the same about. Not into them, but that doesn't make them bad.

I think what has happened is that the internet is uncovering certain truths about music that have always existed. It's an art form. A way to express ourselves to others to try and evoke certain emotions or reactions from them and ourselves. The same principle goes for books or paintings. One person could love a painting and another could hate it. One person could love a book and another could hate it. The same applies to films, too. A lot, if not all, of these industries have taken a hit due to the internet. When you make something that can be had for free and you take away the man made value of it, you're left with only the intrinsic value that can only be perceived by the individual and their personal tastes. That is why there is still music out there that is making money and a lot that isn't. I can easily name you ten musicians or bands that I personally think aren't very good (and others would agree) that are making lots of money and ten indie musicians and bands that I personally think ARE very good (and others would agree) who aren't making any money and name the one constant among them. The ten making money had millions of dollars in advertising and marketing while the ten not making money did not.

I make jewelry for a living. It's another art form. Some people will hate one piece and others will love it. It's strictly a personal judgement call. It will sell sooner or later though. That cannot be said for any medium that can be placed on the internet and enjoyed for free.

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

May 23 | Unregistered CommenterChancius

@glenn "Just because your number's in the phone book doesn't mean people will call you." Bingo.

The new tools we have today are rad, but the ocean is deeper and wider because of it.

A lot of us don't want to quit our day jobs but we do want as many as possible to hear our work, so for me telling your story well is becoming more and more important.

May 23 | Unregistered CommenterJamey

@ Chancius - No, Ben is right. The majority of amateur music produced today does in fact suck. Even from a technical stand point, the vast majority is sub-par. Not knocking your opinion, but I think you're missing the objective reality of Ben's statement.

I agree with Ben as well. Too much crap out there, WE NEED FILTERS PEOPLE!!!

May 24 | Unregistered CommenterChris

It definitely feels like a double edged sword, but record labels were very smart marketing experts. That's what I think is lacking when people DIY it. I the rise music marketing management teams around artists is going to create a new wave of record label, where the artist hires the marketing team, or the marketing team share the profits.

May 25 | Unregistered CommenterGemma

@Ben

Nobody is going to spend the amount of time necessary to dig through all the crap to find a new band..

Except that's not how people discover new bands. Most people don't "dig" for new bands. Most people aren't even looking for new bands at all. Instead, they're looking for something they'll most likely already like. So they rely on what we've always relied on: word of mouth from friends and trusted sources that actually do the digging for you, whether it's a music-obsessed blog or an Amazon algorithm.

Really, the increase in the amount of "bad" music has little effect on those filters.

especially when now there are thousands and thousands of these indie bands who all have albums they recorded on their Macbook and they all, let's face it, suck.

No, they don't.

May 25 | Unregistered Commenterscottandrew

OH lord I could rant for hours on here and will possibly try. But I truly think that it is a solo "artist" dominated industry over a band one. (Thank you AM IDOL) I am so sick of seeing local musicians talk and think more than they actually DO. Always looking for the gravy train or next networking op instead of commiting to one band and making it work. Every musician I know is in more than one "project". There would of never been a Beatles or Led Zeppelin if this kind of thinking/acting was prevalent back then. Those guys commited to one band sooner or later and just did it. Musicians now are trying to fucking second guess every little thing they do instead of connecting to the madness and spirit and just letting that be the guide. Over intellectualizing is without a doubt the worst thing for music and I see musicians do it CONSTANTLY. The dudes in my last band would think soooooooo much instead of just playing and letting it out and it was eventually the downfall of us. I think more drugs are in order here. LOL I also think recorded music has become similar to the wonder bra. It is an illusion of what really isn't there. Technology is the death of humanity AND the death of good music. Roger Waters warned of this and said one can become a slave to their technology if not aware and careful. I am seeing this over and over again. All you musicians will call a band that goes back to the simple act of playing and rocking "retro":. But the person sitting at the club or whatever will call it "fresh" Nirvana did it when everyone was sounding a certain way. They basically took classic sounding raw music and made it their own. I also can't understand why so many local guys TRY to be original and are so against cover tunes. Covers are what made the Stones and Beatles, Zeppelin, etc get those chops and develop their sound. Petty and RIchards talk about this all the time.
And as far as the independent is concerned. I think it is the worst thing to happen to music as there is no right of passage. Any idiot can be heard and call themselves an "artist". At one time you had to work through the channels of playing live and actually getting good and having experiences before you would commit it to plastic. Now bands are fucking forming in the studio and THEN playing out. I think this is messed up and the same reason you will always see a 14 year old kid wearing a Doors or Stones T shirt over a Wilco one. Pure and simple.

June 14 | Unregistered CommenterB

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