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The music industry is changing.Is the glass half empty or half full?

What’s Not to Love About the State of Music Industry?

The music industry is changing faster than ever before, and some people see that as a

bad thing while others say it’s about time.

Streaming has wrecked the traditional distribution channels such as physical recordings

and terrestrial radio. Live performances came to a screeching halt when governments

locked down the world for two years, forcing people to get their fix of live music in their

homes, often alone or with a handful of friends, on screens.

Some people bemoan all of that and other factors that are transforming the music

industry. I, however, am one of those who say, “It is about time.” In fact, I believe we may be living in another Golden Era of Music. Let me tick off a few reasons why I think the business is thriving.

More people have more access to music than ever before. Basically,

anywhere that is connected to the worldwide web is connected to a wider variety

than ever before. More fans mean more demand means more revenue for artists,

producers, studios, and distributors.

The number of distribution channels is exploding. There was a time fans

could experience music only by going to performances, listening to recordings,

and on AM and FM radio. Today, people can hear music through Internet radio,

streaming TV, satellite radio, instant downloads, artist websites, social media,

video sharing, iPods, iPads, iPhones, ringtones, video games. And on. And on.

 Exposure to various genres increases the number of cross-over fans.

Twenty years ago, fans identified with one style of music. “I love country.” “Hip

hop’s my bag.” “Consider me an opera fanatic.” “I’m a jazz man.” Now people are

taking advantage of all the ways they can experience music, they are breaking

down the silos of their tastes in music. It’s not unusual to find personal playlists

that include such diverse tracks as The Clash, L'amour est un oiseau rebelle, the

Grateful Dead, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Charlie Parker. The hippest folks

are cultural omnivores.

Stardom is being redefined. There may never again be mega-talent like

Michael Jackson, but the path to fame is wide and getting wider. A big factor in

Michael-level stardom was the limited number of channels of musical access,

which meant frequent-play was controlled by public taste. Forget that. The new

paradigm leaves much more room for mid-level artists—of all genres—to

cultivate their fan base.

Fans are now music-business insiders. Many audiences are no longer

satisfied with a passive role when it comes to music. They demand interactive

concerts. They’re excited to post comments or photos on their favorite group’s

blog. They want to vote for the next members of the YouTube Symphony

Orchestra. They love to remash tracks from interesting groups.

Artists are in the creative and business driver seats. It is now easier and less

expensive to record music, disseminate music, and market music than ever

before. It is no longer necessary to have the backing of a major record label or

management to create an international reputation. Savvy musicians can do this

largely from their own home.

Music is everywhere. Music is healthy. Music is thriving. Music is celebrating. 

But what does all this mean for musicians?

Change happens. Artists who change with it will win; those who are stuck in the good

old days likely will not find the coming days as good. Those who come out on top will be

those with the entrepreneurial foresight to spot and act upon new opportunities. Finding

them may not always be easy and requires imagination. But surely, in this Golden Era

of Music, they do exist. 

So, the next time you feel depressed about all the gloom and doom, take that energy

and focus it on finding positive solutions. Look for the bright spots. 

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