There is no money in the music industry: Are we all in it for the money though!?

3 Jan

Updated: It is a cold Tuesday morning here in NYC and on the typical walk from LES to Chelsea I notice all the boys and girls in their fancy suits and dresses. Money is evidently a huge motivator for people, the root of all evil some will tell you. It got me sighing – if only music was still swimming in pools of cash. But I am comfortable with that. My motivator is the challenges this industry faces. I love a challenge. So I think, is less money maybe a good thing?

Everyone moans there is no money in the music industry. I am one of them. I understand the problems that come from this; less money to reinvest in new artists, less risk-taking for new music, less money for artists’ creativity and intellectual property etc. Everyone needs a pay cheque and rightly so. How much of a pay cheque do we really need to do our dream jobs though?

This could be a great thing for the industry. A chance to take the trash out. The majors are suffering due to lacking any entrepreneurial intelligence, trying to acknowledge the social movements happening on the ground or having foresight.

The same goes with artists too. I went to Philadelphia last month to consult a band which was doing stadium tours and rocking #1 hits back in ‘05 and now playing to 40 people in 2k capacity venues. They bitched about not having enough money to record some new tracks, produce their old ones and to promote their latest album – something I could sympathize with if it wasn’t for the $1m bus they were pouring out these words from. Oh and the 600k+ advance blown away. The whole industry needs to smarten up.

I am loving the music industry personally. The days of writing a good track and sitting on your arse are over. There is still so much possibilities thanks to the internet. Artists do not have to do 360 deals, they don’t even really need record labels anymore. Yes, ten years ago a band could only get as big as a particular region or maybe a college network. They needed a label to get their music heard and distributed, they needed a label for national success. Not anymore though.

From the rubble now emerges a new media elite. Tech-savvy, passionate and enthusiastic. I am excited for music. This is a new era with more possibilities and opportunities than ever! Albums don’t make money any more, but then again there are more faces to music than just a disc with some songs.

How about the live sector, how about merchandise, how about licensing? We have been dwelling over what music once was for so long, its time we start moving forward.


One Response to “There is no money in the music industry: Are we all in it for the money though!?”

  1. Create January 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    The business model for music.. is there one.
    Is music art or are we kidding ourselves.Many industries have nearly been destroyed in their own country by going off shore.The question to ask is our once entrenched business models now appropriate in this day and age.
    Subprime, manufacturing,banking,travel have all gone through massive changes..some good some bad…So where does the recording industry, music, performing, songwriting,talent,musicianship etc sit in our society.
    Are we going through a transition period and one day out will pop an industry that all will be great…music ambitions will be filled and a living can be made by those who wish to be musicians.Like some goods manufactured cheaply in China there will be “cheap”
    music performed by second rate musicians and recorded poorly.There is a place for this type of music and a market. It can be a starting poiint for those who wish to hone their skills. Is the album seems mp3 down loading going to be a standard format…seems that way. Are concerts going to survive as we know it..
    no. How about one concert,recorded, played worldwide in 3D or puchased on cable. There are companies looking at this right now. There are changes afoot unfortunately we do not know what they will be. We do know it is not going to be like it once was.
    Marketing, spin, fashion of music will still be there how it is done will change..hopefully for the better, but don’t hold your breath.
    I have been in the music business since the 1950’s and I learnt when I was 20..”it is no crime being poor but so very inconvenient”. I have met so many struggling musicians in the last 50 years who would have made more money mowing lawns than playing music. If someone wants to be a plumber, electrician,an accountant etc there is a very good chance that they can make enough money to support a family.Is the music industry different..I think so. A few make a lot of money…some make some money…most struggle.There is one redeeming have I had some fun..if music is in your blood you are a lucky person. To me music is “heaven” . However,the business of music..well that is another matter.


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