We can all stop waiting for the “new music industry” to arrive. The new music industry is not coming, it is here already. The only thing that will change is change. New models reshaping the way music is marketed and distributed will continue to change the landscape, and there will be many. Right now we have an emergence of abundance within the music industry. There are countless new artists emerging and the same goes for the ways of consuming those artists. This will not change; the emergence will continue to evolve as humans will continue to evolve. With that being said, there will be a shaping and weeding out process. The shaping and weeding out process will define which artists and which models work best for you individually, the consumer. The process of definition for the music consumer will cross all boundaries including race, gender, and age. I would like to include money, but I can’t help but to imagine the rich kid who only wants to see their favorite artist live, so they pay for live shows whenever they decide to.
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Bob Marley comes across as the ultimate musical rebel, though everyone—from American frat boys to Malian army officers—loves his music. Wildly successful, Marley is an enigma: Someone who managed to put obscure local music on the world map; who turned a marginalized community (Rastafarians) into admired trendsetters; who remained a humble barefooted guy even when tooling around in a BMW; who sold a boatload of records by sticking to his guns and making his music, his way. How did he do it?
He didn’t. Marley sold out.
Before you protest, think about it. Imagine, for a second, that a major figure in a subcultural movement—Minor Threat/Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye of the U.S. hardcore punk scene, let’s say—joined forces with a mainstream hip hop producer like will.i.am, and made a really great record that stayed on the charts for eons and moved units in the gazillions. Though some die-hard fans might scream that he’d sold out, he would have transformed the musical landscape.
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(Updated June 17)