Is the Internet Dead or just Dead to Artists?
November 22, 2010
andy jones in Fall Out Boy, Internet, Music Industry, Web 2.0, artists, marketing

Is the internet dead? This has been a question I have been asking myself for a few weeks now. If it’s not dead is it just going through changes like most businesses do? I have read several articles of late that seem to think that it is dead and that the future of the internet will look much different then it does today. So what if it’s dead, how does that impact us? Do we even care?

I’m looking at the internet through the eyes of someone working in the music industry, as a recording artist, a studio owner and a music publisher. What was once the supposed gateway to music business success is closing and its closing fast. In fact it may have never really been open at all.

We have all heard the stories of how a band was found on myspace and then international fame soon followed. I once bought into this, but now I’m not so sure. How true can this be? Success in business has always been built on hard work, time, effort, energy, preparation and education. There are always the stories of overnight successes but even then all of the above things were at some point involved. No one can succeed at anything if they have never put forth any effort to succeed can they?

I have come to conclusion that the artists that have found success from the internet would have found it no matter what. Take for instance Fall Out Boy. They have long been held up as the first band to find success using myspace and the internet. True indeed, they were the first band to one million plays, one million fans and so on and so forth on myspace. They used this virtual hype to gain fans; attendance at their shows grew and increased album sales. All of which caught the attention of record labels that were all too eager to sign them to a record deal.

Would all of this have happened for Fall Out Boy without the internet? I say yes. They used all the same basic principals that any successful business would employ to get their company off the ground. For them it was the new media of the internet that gave them a jump start. Looking back over the past we can see how such new mediums as print, radio and TV also launched stars and their careers. Yet again, how many of those same success stories would have come true without such media? I would argue that all of them would have.

Like Fall Out Boy or not, they were the right band with the right sound at the right time that just happened to catch on. People just liked their music. Girls thought they were cute and guys wanted to emulate their style. In all truth the very same thing can be said about the Beatles or Elvis or any other music act that has seen international fame and success over the last 60 years.

At the heart of all success is good marketing. For the Beatles, Brian Epstein took four rough young lads and put them in suits, and took advantage of their good looks. At the time TV was the new media and they were just the right darlings to capture the imagination of everyone who watched.

For Fall Out Boy it was their use of the internet. Good marketing always knows how to take advantage of unique opportunities when they present themselves. Especially new and unknown opportunities that have yet to be explored and figured out.

I have been told more times then I can count of late that myspace is dead. Ok, so what about facebook and twitter and the plethora of other sites just like them. Are they dead too? How does the next big thing in the music business find success? I believe the answer lies in the past. As some would say, what is old is new again. I think it lies in hard work, time, effort and preparation. The same things that have always made businesses successful. If you have a good business plan, work hard and continue to knock on doors eventually opportunity will lead to reward.

I know some of you are saying, yeah but what about those artists that got discovered and bypassed all of that, what’s your answer for that. My answer is you can’t discover someone that doesn’t at first at least want to be discovered. Is Justin Bieber really an overnight success? He would busk on street corners and posted videos on YouTube. It’s not like he was locked away in his room singing to the walls around him. Maybe YouTube helped draw him attention faster and easier then most, but it was only a matter of time before the recording industry discovered him.

So is the internet dead? After writing this I’m not sure I’m any closer to an answer then I was before I started. I think I am of the mind that the internet never really helped anyone on its own. It was just another tool in a large box, that when used along with other known tools, sped up the process. Did the internet and myspace make Fall Out Boy famous? No, just like TV didn’t make the Beatles famous either. Both the Beatles and Fall Out Boy would have been famous in my opinion had there never been TV or the internet. It may have taken longer, but they would have still reached the same point in their careers.

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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