The state of the music industry has changed a lot over the years and the sad truth is, there isn’t room in the market for a band to make it as big as Silverchair or Powderfinger did.
The market has fragmented a lot and there is also a lot less money out there for bands to share in. What I mean is that consumers are spending less on recorded music and there are a lot more bands out there than there used to be and each of them are taking little pieces of the pie.
It’s easier than ever to record a few songs at home and it’s even easier to find an audience for your music online. It’s even easier still to then distribute your music through someone like Tunecore, who will make your music available in almost any iTunes store for less than $50 a year. This is what we called a double edged sword;
- You won’t hear me say that more art is ever a bad thing. The artist is afforded the opportunity to express themselves and contribute to the cultural landscape like never before. The more art being created, the more cultural thumbtacks we have to help us navigate the world, help us understand it and explain it. ALSO
- This long tail is not just contributing more music to the landscape, it broadening the landscape. The diversity and array of artists today speak to and have given birth to countless sub-cultures. BUT
- With a shrinking music market (yes, record sales used to be an artist’s primary source of income and those sales have been in free fall for years – see the info graphic above if you don’t believe me) and an expanding number of artists, the number of dollars to go around is far less than it used to be. MEANING
- It’s much harder for bands to reach that illusive “star” status and sustain it. Ergo, in Australia we will not have another band as big as Powderfinger and Silverchair were.
Because of this we are seeing a much for transient artist population, if that makes sense. Bands work for years both as musicians and also in part-time positions only to find that even if they do “make it”, things aren’t as they used to be. “Making it” now means just being able to pay rent and work full time as a musician. It’s a really hard life anyway and without the promise of the rock star lifestyle, artists are throwing in the towel a lot sooner.
What surprises me is that this hasn’t affected the quality of the music being produced. I would have thought that with so many people given a voice and a medium by which to share it, the amount of crap out there would increase and maybe make it harder to find the good stuff. But it seems the that The People are the great adjudicators and the crap never seems to make it further than it should. So, in summary: no more really big bands. Lots of mid-sized bands that disappear a lot sooner.