Piracy has changed the face of the music industry. Overnight, with the release of peer-to-peer technology, the music industry has transformed from a Goliath to a mere afterthought in an online world. It’s through technologies such as peer-to-peer and an acceptance of creative commons licensing that musicians, producers and many other artists have the chance to spread their music.
THE END OF TRADITIONAL BUSINESS
Many of us are die-hard music lovers but there was always one elephant in the room that restricted us from hearing what we love: the music industry.
Built upon the industrial mindset, the music industry has long since had a grip over the artists and platform for releasing music. Decades have passed since the “glory days” of music but in the end, we, the consumer, benefit.
As the World Wide Web caught the attention of millions of people, many found it to be the perfect platform to release and distribute music. The first major push was to release titles already available in traditional forms such as vinyl, CD and cassette – this meant older titles would fall under piracy.
Peer-to-peer quickly caught on – it was hard to pass up a free song especially as the price of music continued to stay the same. Services such as Napster made the first blow to the music industry. With millions of songs being shared on the network, the music industry was transformed overnight and with it, many music labels fell.
Now, today, music is regularly being released online through a variety of methods: free, pirated, streaming and paid platforms. Those within the music industry that have evolved with the times have seen a great amount of success while those that refused to transform continue to sink.
THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Websites and services such as Pandora Radio, Last.fm, YouTube and countless others offer an almost infinite amount of music to its users.
The main draw of the web, unlike that which is offered by the music industry, has been the ability for musicians to create, distribute and promote their own music from the comfort of their home. The music industry, on the other hand, would filter out musicians who could not be profitable or the ones which were accepted to the labels took a steep cut in their own profits due to the costs inset upon them via music businesses.
In some ways, the music industry, through their tireless efforts to promote the top hits, has opened a new mindset for musicians. Musicians now see it perfectly acceptable to release free music on websites and to distribute their albums within their own labels.
The power has shifted from companies with CEO’s back into the musician’s hands.
As the web evolves, musicians will as well. New platforms are being invented every day for musicians to promote and sell their music without the costs of dealing with the music industry. As the musicians continued to transform their message, the industry kept the same beat and is now facing financial ruin.
But not all is bad for the music industry, many online retailers have finally caught on that people want more than just the limited selection available on the shelves. With the unlimited space to host albums, online retailers can now cater to customers with any number of musical tastes.
Likewise, for those music lovers which want to hear “underground” music, communities have sprung up all over the web to discuss and share music which would never make radio play.
So what does the future hold for the music industry and is it possible for them to transform to a new business model? Only time can tell but the web and demand by music lovers have begun the change. Ever increasingly music labels are coming online to distribute music – in the end, we will all benefit from a larger selection, cheaper prices and the ability to discover new artists while sitting in front of the computer.