Will Record Labels And Streaming Platforms Survive The Next Five Years?

Let’s imagine a young talented artist, with original music. What does it take for that person to become famous in today’s world?

Great content to begin with, a hit song, that can be recorded, mixed, mastered and released for so little money today, you really only need a part time job to pay for it, unless you have a mobile phone, input converter for audio in, a decent microphone and a decent microphone amplifier. And the skills or patience (5 years,) to learn.

Promotion is free on social media and any youngster can figure that out in a few weeks. Image is important and can be done by hiring a stylist, a hair stylist, a photographer and a graphic designer, on a per-assignment basis. Professional shots done in a studio are expensive, but not THAT expensive. With flexible editing rights, the same photos can be used in different ways without the hassle of getting a yes from the photographer every time.

Then there is the concert thing, building up an organic following. This is the easiest job in the world. You start in the streets with a minimal setup, few acoustic instruments and vocals. Working the streets is the best rehearsal space, because you won’t get paid unless your very good, or attractive, or interesting etc., either way, your income grows with growing skills. It’s also an important step to learn dealing with rejection.

Next (or often first,) is the free indoors concerts. Open mics, charity, boutique cafés, record shops, friends and family gatherings, school nights, local talent contests, the library, any place that will let you do your thing, without a budget to compensate. The streets and tiny gigs, you use to build the first following and as content for social media PR, to show people you’re serious and active.

After this, it’s time to team up with other upcoming bands and share the stage on small, again non-paying, venues. Your tight group of supporters will be multiplied by the number of bands present. Sometimes you’ll even get some money at the door. This you do for a while, until you get yes to do a “on the door,” ticket thing as a headline or only act. Don’t worry, it will take at least 50-100 performances of all types, on no profit, before promoters start offering you money to show up. So enjoy these romantic poverty times while you can! And remember small festivals and farmers markets, they often pay quite well! And never say no to weddings and stuff, just do not sacrifice your music for covers, just don’t. Cover musicians hardly ever prioritize their own music once they start getting paid well. 

All along, you keep your social media work growing, keep recording better and better songs, compiling a catalogue for your fans to listen to, for free. Along the way, you start doing some basic merchandising, on concerts; your cd, maybe posters, t-shirts, experiment with things.

How does this play in to the death of the recording industry? Simple, these all lead up to tasks that artist traditionally pay for, by either taking a loan (advancement,) from the label, or by sacrificing lots of profits to pay for these things, including administrative costs and of course shareholders profits. Anything can be outsourced nowadays. A booking company can do your gigs, an accountant your finances and so forth. You can also bribe radio DJ’s under the table in person to play your song, which is a standard trick. Labels aren’t needed for bribes anymore. How much it costs, I don’t know, but you might want to be serious about your street concerts, if done right, it payes a lot better than a job, per hour that is.

And lastly, the final stroke to the recording industry in whole: The Blockchain.

I can’t explain how that works, but apparently, the blockchain will make it possible for artists to benefit directly when their songs are purchased. With customer loyalty an increasingly unpredictable variable, the typical streaming platforms can be disrupted with a model that honors the creators and consumer before the platform. That way, iTunes, Spotify and the likes would (hopefully,) be slaughtered by a competitor with little overheads enough to pay more to the artists, while charging the consumers less. It’s all about having a decent app anyway and as it seems, anyone can make a streaming platform today. Not to mention unlimited data around the corner for everybody, at a historically low rate.

My prediction is that brand new music will disrupt the music industry, with historically few new signed artists and when that music becomes coming retro, slaughter it for good.

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