Music has definitely evolved. It used to be, the only way to get your music heard was to step 1: sign to a record label and step 2: get signed to a record label. But the internet changed everything. With the internet, a musician can now distribute their music independently and get their music heard around the world via streaming; but there is one drawback: the noise.
Distribution is half the battle for any product entering the market. In the classic baseball movie Field of Dreams, there is a famous line “If you build it, they will come.” However that was a fictional movie. In reality, if you build it, you still have to distribute it. You can have the best product, best invention, but without marketing and distribution… your product doesn’t stand a chance. With the advent of the internet, music distribution drastically changed. Instead of literally needing a record label to take care of that side of things, anybody can distribute songs onto streaming platforms (like YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes) with a simple membership through an online distributor (personally I use Distrokid). This is where the title comes in: it’s a blessing & a curse.
The blessing: Anybody can make and share their music! When record labels reigned (sounds like I’m talking about Ancient History, and I kinda am) the only and I mean ONLY way to get your music heard by even a single soul was to sign to a record label. Period, end of story. I can’t imagine how tough it would have been for musicians even just 20- 30 years ago… much less 50 years ago. They had no choice but to sign to a record label, and those roster spots were limited. And even then, their label had to DO WORK to get their musicians on the radio, or get their records, tapes, or cd’s made, and in front of people. It was no easy task and just like my previous Payola post, this probably left thousands of musicians and their music SOL. I can’t imagine how tough it would have been. But with the internet… boom!… blessings! This is no longer the case! Anybody can make and share music. It’s truly an incredible time to be a musician. The music can be distributed by the musician themselves, and there is hardly even a reason for a record label (I mean their marketing budget would be nice to have though). I’m so grateful for the internet allowing me to share my music. Whether it be on SoundCloud or the more popular streaming sites.. it can be sent into the universe with the click of a button.
Now for the curse: Anybody can make and share their music. And that has lead to an over-saturation of the market. In other words, there’s too much damn music out there! There’s tons upon tons of music out there… so getting heard through the noise is now the battle for the modern day musician. Theres shitty music, good music, and everything in between. Listeners are tasked with discovering the good, and musicians are tasked with being discovered. Yet again, no easy task.
This all begs the question, how does one get heard through the noise? Unfortunately, that’s a blog post in itself so I cant expand on that now. But the fact remains, the internet has changed everything. It’s a beautiful blessing. It’s an insurmountable curse. And like life itself.. you gotta adapt to survive.
Peace & Love,
From my hearts to yours