Your’ve already heard this, right?
Almost 70% of new artists are dreaming about signing a record deal. They think that this magic contract will somehow appear and solve all their problems, give them their dream life, fame and money.
This is typical old music industry model.
The new model is more in the lines of making your songs using only your laptop and publishing them on Youtube or Spotify for free…
The truth lies somewhere between!
Yes, there are a lot of record companies out there. Also, some of them are not doing well with finance. Yes, part of financial suffering happens because there are many streaming platforms where you can get music for free. (15 World’s Best Free Streaming Platforms)
But still – many of record companies are earning millions of dollars every year. The thing is that music industry, like every other industry, is changing – it happens all the time.
Every time when a new technology breaks through, it even may change the game in the way how people listen to the music.
Both artists and labels have to adapt!
But this is not bad this time…
A few decades ago, selling albums (vinyls) was the main income for record companies. During that time, bands were not touring so much because technology was different.
Right now the main income for many artists is touring and playing live gigs.
Look at some artists that are just signed by a record label – they release an album and go touring for 1,5 year without breaks.
Why touring? Because you can’t get plenty of money by streaming your new album, especially if you’re not on the Spotify TOP list, but you’ll always ask money for concert or festival tickets!
I attached a graph that shows how digital sales and streaming platforms impacts industry.
So, the Old Music Industry’s model is not 100% dead. It’s just different.
There are some music genres where the old model works pretty well. The best example is Adele, her album ’25’ sales was more than 8 million in the US.
Adele and Universal Music Group make a big amount of money by selling physical CDs, while 90% of other musicians have to follow new rules…
The good thing is that these new rules are better for artists then for labels.
“You don’t have to be picked by record label. In this Internet era you just have to write your best stuff and put it out there in the best way!”
How is this New Model working and what kind of benefits you can expect?
Nowadays you don’t need 1 million dollars of recording budget. Sure, if you have that kind of money there are ways to spend it.
But really – you can record, mix and master you album starting from $5,000 – it depends on the genre and specifications.
If you want to get physical CDs, it will be more expensive but still – you can do this by yourself – you don’t have to pay loads of money for third party services and agencies.
If you calculate the total cost of recording and releasing album, final number would be around:
$2,000 (recording) + $5,000 (mix+master) + $50 (online distribution) + $1,000 (physical CDs 500-700 pcs.) + $100 (artwork) = $8,150 (total)
The biggest benefit is time.
It’s easy and everyone can do it.
Social media and Internet speed up our lives.
You can get any news faster and easier, you can contact your friends faster and easier. Also – you can record, produce, upload and publish your music much more faster than it was 20 or even 10 years ago.
Technology gives us freedom!
3) Reach fans
You don’t need any radio stations to play your new songs anymore. You don’t need any newspapers to promote your tour. You don’t even need the television to make your band popular.
Sure, these channels are still here at the moment. But if you want to reach your fans and get the new ones, you have to use the social media.
You can upload your latest backstage photo on Instagram in seconds. You can make a Facebook live video and share your tour’s diary using the iPhone.
Today people are so close to each other – your friends know everything about you because of the Facebook and Instagram – the same goes for artists.
Be there – take photos, capture live videos, communicate and engage with your audience! It’s for free and takes just some minutes of your time.
If you use social media and streaming platforms, your marketing budget can be close to $0.
Ok, if you spend $0 on marketing, you’ll reach only a small group of people – your friends. But if you invest $500 in Facebook ads, you can reach thousands of people.
Also today communication style is a bit different. If you want to take a great band photo, you won’t need a world-class photographer to work with you. You can take a high quality photo with your iPhone, use a VSCO filter and post it on Facebook.
The only thing you should stick with is a marketing plan or social media plan. It’s all about what kind of info you put out there, how often you write posts etc.
Do some research and see what other bands are doing in your genre. What does your audience like? What are the latest trends? Remember – all your followers are real human beings so treat them as your friends.
Sure, it’s nice if you have a fancy photo shoot for hundreds of dollars. But if you’re a new band with a limited budget, take a shortcut and do it the DIY way. Besides, people nowadays find the “polished” and “expensive” look too cold. Your fans want to see true emotions, behind the scenes and your normal daily life (because even Dave Grohl, the frontman of Foo Fighters, takes his daughter to school and makes a French toast for breakfast).
To sum up, today music industry is different than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
Things have changed but it’s good for us. There are a lot of artists out there, more than ever. There are hundreds of bands in every playlist and a lot of them you don’t know by name.
If you’re just starting out, entry level is pretty low and almost everything is for free – technology gives us freedom.
The noise is high as well as the speed.
You can reach new fans in seconds and it costs nothing, but if you won’t show up tomorrow, you’ll miss your chance!