In a digital world where we have music such as Gangnam Style and ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black… It’s hard not to observe that the music landscape has drastically changed in the last few decades because of the internet. But, is trying to create the next ‘viral hit’ impacting on the quality of the music of today?
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Pundits say music ownership is passe. But if an army of music owners demanding high-fidelity and personal choice suddenly converted to streaming audio as their only music source, could the Cloud deliver? Let’s run the numbers.
The music industry wishes young listeners would abandon low-bit-rate compressed digital music for harder-to-pirate and more profitable CDs. Contrary to the long-held belief that young listeners think lossy compressed music is “just fine,” Harman researcher Dr. Sean Olive has published results from the first peer-reviewed scientific test showing that young listeners will in fact choose CD-quality audio over lossy alternatives when given the choice. Has the dream of a new generation embracing CDs come true? Not so fast.
Defining what exactly is “quality” music is an age-old process that never comes to a conclusion. The music that one person loves, another hates, and vice-versa. But now it’s possible for an artist to use that to their advantage.
A brand is a promise of quality and consistency. No matter where in the world you go for a McDonald’s hamburger, you know what to expect. No matter what product you purchase from Apple, you can expect sleek high-tech design and an easy to understand user interface. Brand management is protecting the image of the brand and carefully selecting how to best exploit it.
For an artist, that means a consistency of persona, and usually a consistency of sound. Regardless of what genre of music the artist delves into, the feel is the same and you can tell it’s the artist at first listen. Madonna has changed directions many times during her career but her brand has been consistent. Her persona remained the same even as she changed to and from the “Material Girl.” The Beatles tried a wide variety of directions but you never once questioned who you were listening to. It was always fresh and exciting, but distinctly them.
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(Updated April 6, 2015)