The music business is ever-changing. Jobs that were once of the utmost importance are now handed off to the most loyal intern. There have been several key changes over the years that can make or break the artists of the DIY generation. SoulTrain.com compares and contrasts the old music business from the new.
With the history of recorded music being so vast, we can narrow this history lesson down to 10 years. In 2003, America was still feeling the effects of 9/11, a shrinking economy, and the music business in particular was fighting a still losing battle with piracy. For the “do it yourself,” or DIY artist, options were limited in terms of releasing music. It would be one year before YouTube was founded, and iTunes was still a fairly new and unpopular medium that was, for the most part, exclusive to major artists. Releasing an album would require small consignment deals with local retail, large pressing orders of at least 300 copies, and beating the pavement dry in your area.
Today’s technology affords the DYI artist luxuries that were not once there. Whereas 10 years ago iTunes was almost completely exclusive to major artists, it is merely a click away from distributing anyone via companies like Tunecore, Reverbnation, CD Baby, and a host of others. iTunes has gone on to become the world’s largest music retailer, followed by Amazon.com and Walmart. Mixing and mastering is still considered one of the biggest expenses of releasing an album; however, due to the revolution of home recording, engineers have offered their mixing and mastering services to DYI artists at a drastically lowered rate. The days of large orders of pressed CDs still exist; however with the rise of On Demand CD printing, the DYI artists of the day can release a product with much lower overhead.
The industry in today’s times works very well for the independent artists. They are realizing that the days of the major label being the gatekeeper to the fans are essentially over. Two things, however, that must not change are having quality music and quality work ethic. There’s definitely more access directly to the fans, but because of that there are literally thousands of artists with that same access. Even in an ever-changing industry, it is still those two factors that will determine your success.
– Nick Eden
Nick Eden is a singer/songwriter/R&B junkie based out of Atlanta, GA. He is a winner of the Steve Harvey New Star Project and has recently appeared on BET/Centric’s Apollo Live. His new album Soul|Reloaded will be available January 2013. Experience his love of R&B at www.RnBLova.com and follow him on Twitter @nickeden.