It seems as if the Internet has existed forever thanks to its nearly universal presence. From smartphones and laptop computers to wearable technology that keeps us up to date with the latest news, it is nearly impossible to overstate the impact that the online community has had since its birth sometime during the latter half of the 1990’s. The music industry has likewise been affected. While there are many benefits such as the ability to sell tickets online for an upcoming concert or to promote a new album, there are some negative aspects which should be taken seriously. How has the Internet changed music forever and is there a silver lining within this technological cloud?
Copyright and Pirating Issues
One of the main complaints stated by countless musicians is the fact that their work can be pirated rather easily. This is absolutely devastating in terms of revenue generation and much like the movie business, traditional sales have suffered as a result. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to remove a popular song from within the online community once it has been leaked. This is the very same reason why countless music stores have closed over the past decade; the demand for CD’s and other physical products has dropped dramatically. It is simply much easier to navigate to an online portal and to download a song or an entire album in a matter of seconds.
The other concern that sometimes comes to light is that it seems as if nearly any “artist” can break through and become a virtual star; even those with little talent. The notorious song “Friday” by Rebecca Black is a perfect example of this disturbing trend. Some hard-working artists have therefore come to believe that commercialisation has trumped quality and talent as whole. They may indeed be correct to an extent. However, it is important to remember that the Internet has also opened up some amazing opportunities for those who know how to market themselves properly.
Not all Bad News
It is now possible to enjoy more exposure than ever before thanks to standalone websites, blog posts, social media circles, and virtual word of mouth. It should also be mentioned that releasing a song to the online community costs far less when compared to signing with a traditional record label. Musicians can now fully enjoy their royalties without having to be concerned about fees and similar commissions. Due in no small part to the presence of e-commerce providers such as Shopify, it is now entirely possible to create a stunning website from the ground up with little prior experience. This is an excellent way to highlight the personality of the music itself as well as to attract a niche market.
Whether we like it or not, the Internet is here to stay and its evolution has been undeniable. This is why it is important for musicians to appreciate how this massive resource can be leveraged as opposed to trying to swim against the digital current.