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« The Virtual Tour, Parts II and III (OR: Keep Your Studio Slippers On!) | Main | Relationships Are The New Distribution »
Tuesday
Nov022010

There is no money in the music industry: Are we all in it for the money though!?

It is a cold Tuesday morning here in NYC and on the typical walk from LES to Chelsea I notice all the boys and girls in their fancy suits and dresses. Money is evidently a huge motivator for people, the root of all evil some will tell you. It got me sighing - if only music was still swimming in pools of cash. But I am comfortable with that. My motivator is the challenges this industry faces. I love a challenge. So I think, is less money maybe a good thing?

Everyone moans there is no money in the music industry. I am one of them. I understand the problems that come from this; less money to reinvest in new artists, less risk-taking for new music, less money for artists’ creativity and intellectual property etc. Everyone needs a pay cheque and rightly so. How much of a pay cheque do we really need to do our dream jobs though?

This could be a great thing for the industry. A chance to take the trash out. The majors are suffering due to lacking any entrepreneurial intelligence, trying to acknowledge the social movements happening on the ground or having foresight.

The same goes with artists too. I went to Philadelphia last month to consult a band which was doing stadium tours and rocking #1 hits back in ‘05 and now playing to 40 people in 2k capacity venues. They bitched about not having enough money to record some new tracks, produce their old ones and to promote their latest album - something I could sympathize with if it wasn’t for the $1m bus they were pouring out these words from. Oh and the 600k+ advance blown away. The whole industry needs to smarten up.

I am loving the music industry personally. The days of writing a good track and sitting on your arse are over. There is still so much possibilities thanks to the internet. Artists do not have to do 360 deals, they don’t even really need record labels anymore. Yes, ten years ago a band could only get as big as a particular region or maybe a college network. They needed a label to get their music heard and distributed, they needed a label for national success. Not anymore though.

From the rubble now emerges a new media elite. Tech-savvy, passionate and enthusiastic. I am excited for music. This is a new era with more possibilities and opportunities than ever! Albums don’t make money any more, but then again there are more faces to music than just a disc with some songs.

How about the live sector, how about merchandise, how about licensing? We have been dwelling over what music once was for so long, its time we start moving forward.

Shea Warnes - http://thetapmusic.com - http://guerrillaandchalk.wordpress.com

Reader Comments (7)

Things are happening, tech-savvy, passionate and enthusiastic you say.

I add a handful of new music marketing resources, forums, blogs, the rest to my bookmarks every week.

We are working on it.

Just thought i would keep you updated, here is my 2p to 'some' of the current issues Music Marketing Guide called Autonomous Industry.

Its simple, to do is to evolve! With the internet backing us and new communication practices, those who do will prosper in their own way!

Nice to hear your thoughts Shea, keep it up.

November 8 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

Great article. It's really up to individuals and collectives to pool their ideas and talents together to come up with something new and even more awesome than the old music model. Definitely going ot be a fun and inspiring era for the music industry.

November 10 | Registered CommenterNoah Lampert

loved it! as a new addition to the music industry it was a great advice piece!

November 14 | Registered Commenteramanda green

Great post..

Unfortunately I feel the real loser is the music lover.

In our attempt to adapt to the ever changing landscape of the music business, I wish there wasn’t this growing theme that musicians need to step up and be smart about marketing.

I really think the best music (meaning important records that will be around a while) happens when musicians are afforded the time to do their art.

I’ve worked with a lot of artists with and without money. From a producers prospective; you make better records when you’re not starting a recording session after already working a ten hour day. No matter how romantic that may seem.

I tell young artists to do what it takes to be a great artist and make sure your records and your show are mind blowing. Then the people that are good at marketing and playing on the internet will come out of the woodwork to help you.

November 29 | Unregistered Commenterdanny bernini

Danny, you're right.

But elsewhere on this site it's been agreed that they/we are no longer musicians, but Media Portfolio Managers.

Exciting? Sitting in front of this thing for hours on end? Getting less money than a call center worker to do the same thing? Exciting times, like the moment just before the recession kicks in and you celebrate just the fact that something is happening outside of the ordinary.

Exciting, like the Indian summer before the first, Great War kicked off, when young men dreamt of glory, not gory.

Exciting, like buying candles when I was a kid, ready for the blackout.

Still excited, when .com is in place, store on site, self funded gigs booked, FB page with 200 likes, self funded recording available online, self funded video (shot in daylight, to save on lighting hire) up on youtube (500 hits - woo!); google tells you you're on 3 blogs and someone has taken the trouble to make your music available for free; still exciting when you get the bill for the T's and hoodies you MUST sell or you can't pay back your mum; still excited when you head back to university to take a degree in something, anything, because there's no money in pop music for the likes of you - self funded, hard working, tech savvy, young and knackered Media Portfolio Manager.

The romance is killing you.

November 30 | Registered CommenterTim London

WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP! THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS IN THE WORST STATE THAN EVER BEFORE. EVERYTHING HEREIN YOUR WRITING IS A PATHETIC JUSTIFICATION. I WORK IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND THE FACT THAT IT'S GOING DOWN MEANS THAT EVERYTHING PREVIOUS TO CURRENT NEW MEDIA MODELS IS N-FACT WORSE THAN EVER BEFORE. 10-15 YEARS AGO, NO MATTER HOW CRAP OR GOOD AN ACT WAS, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WAS IN A MUCH BETTER SHAPE. IT'S A CASE OF ECONOMICS - AND THAT AFFECTS VENUE INVESTORS TOO. STOP WRITING CRAP. THANKS.

This article is incredibly unprofessional. There are errors in it and swear words. I can't take it seriously.

December 16 | Unregistered CommenterPATRIC

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