javascript:; Is everything popular wrong? ~ we ARE the music industry

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Is everything popular wrong?

The Independant Label Market is being held in London today and again on the 21st May.  This seems to coincide with "National Record day" which is apparently to celebrate the vinyl format.  The NME has written somewhat cynically about how they hold no love for what they perceieve as a dead format:

If physical singles are finally dying out for good, then don’t expect me to send any flowers to the funeral. I don’t care about Record Store Day. I don’t even care if I never own a physical CD or vinyl record ever again. I got rid of 90 per cent of my CD-based record collection last year, leaving behind only the records I’d paid for before becoming a music hack. I don't miss them.

And here’s why: if you’re seriously bothered about the way your tunes are delivered to you, you’re focusing on totally the wrong aspect of what makes music great.

They have a point, but there is something far more appealing, both in terms of sound quality and having something tangible to savour in physical formats.  CD's never really cut it for me.

Also, as the recent major press coverage of Rise records in Bristol goes the desire for quality physical products such as vinyl is on the rise.  They attribute this to mainly staying away from music that is most dominant in the mainstream media.  Most of their records centre around hard to find and niche labels churning out quality music with dedicated followings.  And, unlike in other arenas, business appears to be booming. 

Stefan Goldman on the great blog "little white earbuds" has also written about this recently in their article "Everything popular is wrong":

Contrary to public perception, this didn’t affect the majors all that much. Their problems were mostly in their inability to maximize the advantages they already had instead of wasting resources on trying to revive an overthrown order. Soon enough it dawned on them that big artists (i.e. those with the biggest turnover) can generate reasonable income through so called 360-degree-deals, covering live gigs, publishing rights, merchandise, etc. all under the control of one company. Even the smallest labels engage in a similar policy nowadays. But the required resources to participate in the game of filling stadiums, really cashing in on movie and advertising deals today are almost exclusively in the hands of majors. Interestingly, the so called “democratization” of music production and distribution didn’t change this allocation of relevant income to the majors’ detriment at all.
.....To an extreme extent, success in the arts is subject to random factors (we see many successful people who have no clue how they got there, how to stay there or how to repeat it). The more radically and frequently you stand out, the more often you get exposure to those factors, thus increasing the probability of channels opening up for you. That is not spamming the Internet but creating radically individual great music in the first place. Once you enter the channel, you allow more factors to work for you, since these tend to add up (path dependency). Art always had to be great (whatever that is) and move people in order to succeed, too. But now there’s that third dimension of having to create a wide gap between you and the competition, even if that’s just within one genre. If you can implement this idea in your work, the flood is not threatening at all anymore since it works against itself. “Unique” is the most valuable word in a crowded environment of generic ideas and overwhelming redundancy. Striving for this quality is also exactly what is most rewarding artistically. Besides screaming fans and free drinks, that is.
So it appears that, contrary to popular opinion the way to succeed in music nowadays is to strive for quality, rather than being otherwise popularistic. 

So what do you guys think?  Is it still possible to "make it" nowadays? Are the channels really flooded? 

By Jez with 2 comments


Send TuneCore To Prison CLICK HERE

TuneCore files false copyright claims. File a criminal complaint against them.

Spread the word!

Send TuneCore To Prison CLICK HERE

TuneCore files false copyright claims. File a criminal complaint against them.

Spread the word!

Post a Comment

    • Popular
    • Categories
    • Archives