How the Internet Helps Musicians
Everybody talks about the negative effects of the Internet on the music industry. Illegal file sharing and copyright violations have decimated the gains in the business. Record labels are less willing to take risks with new artists because the gains have dried up. Sales have steadily decreased over the past several years due in large part to the proliferation of illegal downloads. All that is correct, but there are two sides to this coin. Sure, things are harder now for the new musician than ever before, but there are also new opportunities due to the Internet.
The world wide web has reduced the barriers to entry into the music industry. Today as a result of the rapid evolution in technology, a musician can record a song and share it with listeners around the world. Previously, supply was controlled by the record labels. Unless you had a record deal it was nearly impossible to reach listeners out your immediate area.
Distribution wasn't only controlled, but there was no way around the high costs of physical distribution. Manufacturing a batch of CDs or tapes might be prohibitively costly for the starving artist. But with free MP3 distribution through the world wide web, an artist's music can reach across the world. An up and coming Latin diva can share her songs with somebody in Europe. The following rock star in Africa can share his songs with a person in Japan. The world wide web has opened a door which allows artists to share their art with anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Now with online retailers such as Amazon, artists can also sell and market their music themselves. Sure it's tough and do not expect to earn much money. But singers and bands can sell and share their songs without relying on a record label in manners today that were impossible a decade ago.
The Internet helps people connect. Music is a profoundly personal experience and people have their own tastes in what they listen to. The Internet lets people who prefer a specific style to group together easier and allows them to discuss new artists that they never would have had the opportunity to hear otherwise.
Now, do not get me wrong. Music is a difficult business. With declining sales and tighter profits it's harder for anybody to create a living from the music business. However, in case you've got a fantastic day job and you love to create music for the sake of the music itself, then the Internet can be an unbelievable enabler.