These stories speak to the current conflicted state of many artists’ relationship with technology — we sense the incredible potential of technology, and yet we also sense a failure to live up to that potential, because the technology and the supporting infrastructure isn’t really being built with all of us in mind. Discourse around technology possibilities for artists alternatively gravitates toward the utopic — tech will solve everything and bring about a democratized cultural landscape — and the dystopic — technology will ruin everything, dumb down our audiences, and steal our lunch money!
Apple and Google have both launched paid platforms for music streaming, which allows unlimited, on-demand selection of songs online.
“If Adele decides to not have her music on streaming for a certain period of time, that is going to send a strong signal to other artists”, said Casey Rae, chief executive of the Future of Music Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group. The 30-second format helps ensure that users don’t get bored with the songs, but it also has a nifty legal function: It sharply reduces royalty fees Facebook has to pay.
It was once a familiar scene: layers of show posters covering dimly lit streetposts; plastered on to venue walls; handbills blowing through alleys like tumbleweed. The battle to make people aware of concert dates is something that goes back decades. And the attention wars rage on, but now a lot of the action is online.
These days, a great many show and album release announcements take place via Facebook feeds and invites. Even this isn’t new—“virtual” promotions can be traced back to the dawn of the Internet. Message boards, band websites and email newsletters helped pave the way, and remain part of today’s publicity picture. Then came MySpace, which opened the door for musicians on social networks. These new platforms have been widely embraced due to broad reach, accessibility and low-to-no cost features.
Yet in spite of its popularity, Facebook hasn’t managed to become the ultimate Swiss army knife for musicians. Part of this is because the company keeps changing its functionality. Now that Facebook is publicly traded, it faces more pressure to monetize user activity. Unsurprisingly, some of the recent changes don’t seem to favor independent musicians or indie labels.
For over a week now, Facebook’s messy IPO has dominated the business page headlines. A question that rarely gets asked in all this kerfuffle: what impact will this IPO have on musicians? As key influencers and creators of one of the most sharable and valuable types of content, musicians have been crucial players in the rise of social media platforms. But are they benefiting? read more
One of the greatest promises of the digital revolution is that it would remove many of the barriers to instant listening gratification. For example: having to purchase a physical product from a retail establishment with limited shelf space, or waiting for a song you liked to come on the radio. To a large degree, that’s been accomplished — at no other point in history has it been easier to access vast catalogs of music online. The tension, however, has always been in finding business models that make sense for both creators and consumers. Today’s marketplace has a number of innovative, fully licensed music services, which is definitely encouraging. read more