14 January 2012

Music technology is not Godzilla

The constant evolution of technology has been spreading changes throughout the music industry over recent years, to the point where the traditional industry structure seems almost redundant. 

Despite claims to the contrary by the major record labels the music “industry” has never been healthier, or provided artists with more ways of reaching listeners and succeeding.

The reason big labels are crying foul over the new technologies is that it directly threatens their revenue streams, and therefore their existence.  If a band is able to provide their music to listeners directly, including streaming previews and the provision of instant downloads and traditional music formats such as CD’s and vinyl, then why do they need the labels to act as a middle man.

Sites such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud allow artists to do exactly that.  Some labels have seen the benefit in such sites and now release music using these tools, but the majors still seem to see these sites as a threat and continue to play the piracy card.

As a listener the past year has been the most productive in terms of finding new music to listen and moving from pirated downloads to paying artists directly for their music, usually after listening to a stream for free.  And that’s got to be a good thing for musicians, right?

What I’d like to see is an industry that supports new technology, and instead of railing against it, perhaps putting resources into developing new technology to aid musicians, instead of trying to shut the technology down.  If labels and musicians can have more input into how music is released and retailed then the benefits would be huge for everyone.

What do you think the future holds for music distribution?  How do you feel about the way music experiences have changed, either as a listener or a musician?  What new innovations or technology would you like to see, to make finding, listening, buying or distributing music easier or more fun?

Drop a word bomb in the comments below and share your thoughts. 

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