Don’t blink. You’ll never catch up if you do. That’s how fast the Music Industry is changing. Everything you thought you knew, forget it. We are in the the age of technology and you can either embrace it or be left in the dust. Musician’s heads are spinning as they try to stay current in a blinding cloud of constantly evolving technology.
You CAN turn your head ignore the advances and operate like it was 10 years ago. Good luck with that. Let us know how it turns out. Many artists today are lamenting a simpler time when all you did was go into a recording studio, make an album and then wait by the phone for someone to discover you. How many got the call? It was an elitist time when the only way anyone knew who you were was if you were signed to a Major Label. You had to find your fans in the clubs and rarely online. Your reach was small and there was little chance of becoming a globally known artist.
Today, you can tap into fans all over the world through myriad choices in music discovery. The door is open and if your music is exceptional, you are internet savvy and you use all the tools at your fingertips you have a chance of building a ravenous and hefty fan base.
Everyone has a smart phone; but are they smart in the ways that they utilize it? How many apps available to you are you currently using?Surprisingly many musicians have no idea what all their gadgets, toys and expensive gear are capable of doing. Many musicians rarely check their email, or even set up voice mail on their phones. Gimme A break. It’s mind blowing. Are you seriously going to miss an appointment because you can’t convert a time zone? It happens every day. There is more information available at our fingertips in an instant than ever before and yet still, musicians play dumb. Don’t lament your lack of success if you are living in the dark ages. There is a very obnoxious yet impossible to shake commercial that says, “If you aren’t whitening your teeth, you are yellowing.” It’s true. Every day that you ignore the advances and technology around you and plant your feet in the past is a another day that your peers are leaving you behind. Keep wishing for the days of yore, the rest of us are moving on.
Yesterday, Twitter announced that they are now getting in to the music discovery business. Not a huge surprise if you have been paying attention to the power Twitter has in the Music Industry. But will it be a game changer? Doubtful. Still, fascinating tech and worth watching to see how it changes the landscape.
The #music app uses Twitter activity, including tweets and other engagement, to detect the most popular tracks and emerging artists, Twitter said. It also brings artists’ music-related Twitter activity front and center, Twitter said, allowing users to visit artists’ profiles to see what musicians they follow and what music they like. Users also can tweet songs right from the app.
Twitter currently gathers its music from three sources: iTunes, Spotify, and Radio. By default, users hear previews from iTunes when exploring music in the app, and Rdio and Spotify subscribers can log in to their accounts to listen to full tracks available through those services. Twitter noted that it will continue to explore and add other music services.
To be relevant in Today’s Industry, you need to have a giant footprint online. Content needs to be constantly updated and your delivery of that content needs to be imaginative and innovative. Ignoring even one outlet for discovery can mean falling behind in the game and becoming obsolete. OK, so you have a MySpace account and you are waiting for that platform to be relevant again. Hold your breath. Once a brand is that severely damaged it is very difficult to restore it’s power. But hey, keep sending booking agents your MySpace link, I’m sure they’ll be impressed with what a current artist you are. Press releases are dead. Over. Blogging is the way to get press, interviews, reviews and articles out to Industry Veterans, and fans. Blog site communities are exploding and if you aren’t part of it, you are nowhere. If you missed it I wrote a blog about “blogging” which you can read here.
One of the most alarming truths in all of this remarkable, fast-paced tech innovation is that many musicians don’t even utilize Google. I know, beyond comprehension. True none the less. Why is it that musicians are the last ones to keep up with the game? Their own fans are outsmarting them. Crazy!
Live performance is still incredibly important and don’t think for a second that you can just hang out in your basement, be a geek and become a household name. Not going to happen. Fans are spending money on live shows and gigging is more important than ever. But it has to lead back to the Internet where millions can enjoy the podcasts of your live shows.
There are groundbreaking tech advances for 2013. Hypebot.com features 5 Top Emerging Music Tech Trends. The 3D printing of music merch is particularly fascinating since merch sales are through the roof and can even help artists fund touring:
3D printing is very much in the early stages but in both ZDNet and Silicon Republic writers speculate that this year will bring it much closer to the mainstream.
Though 3D printed records are not yet a source of bootleg vinyl, that may one day come to pass. However I’m betting that trademark issues may be first to arrive in the form of fan-created music merch such as vinyl dolls.
Many legendary acts are embracing the 3D technology for live concert filming. 80’s Icons Guns N Roses are releasing a 3D concert film this summer in order to reinvent themselves. Apropos that they are including a Pink Floyd Cover.
Music Gear is also changing dramatically and NAMM 2013 rolled out the best new gadgets the Industry has to offer. Being a musician is really exciting today with all the possibilites available. If you’ve never been to a NAMM show, “Buy the Ticket, Take The Ride.”
Overwhelmed yet? Excited? Motivated? It’s a brave new world and you have much to learn. This is the tip of the iceberg, so fasten your seat belts. Stop wasting your money on PR firms and third parties to get attention for your band. You have the power right there on your smart phone. The next time you are complaining that you have no clue how to market yourself and your music, try using “The Google.” You might just learn something.