Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Music Makers in the Changing Music Business

There is a lot of fear these days in the halls of music business companies that once looked as permanent as the Sphinxes of Egypt. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is subject to change. So what does that mean for the music makers (artists, session singers, musicians, arrangers, producers, songwriters, studios and studio engineers, etc.)?

I was just having this discussion with master session bass player Mike Chapman this week. Here are some things that came out of that chat as well as discussions I've had with others trying to make sense of this wild-wild-west of an industry right now.
  • Music will continue to be made. Where, how and with whom will change, but people's listening ears will always want and need music.  
  • Free and pirated music is here and will stay problematic. However, music that an artist or label gives away always has a promotional purpose. According to a promotional plan, free music is used to create other income streams such as ticket sales and merchandise as well as to introduce the artist to larger fanbases who end up actually buying music.Therefore, music makers will still be hired and music will still get made.
  • Session work from big publishing houses has fallen off. Musicians can no longer depend on most of their work coming from major publishers which have become vulnerable to inefficient business models.
  • Major writers may find themselves with more indie cuts and less major windfall radio singles that play for years. New alliances and networking is vital; some of the old contacts are going out of business.
  • Many music makers will need to have side businesses, day jobs or other multiple income streams. This does not mean, however, that they have to give up on music. They just have to consider fresh horses and re-think lifestyles and strategies.
  • The cautious, safe (boring) music making of recent years needs to become braver, more creative, authentically passionate and experimental. Indie music and niche markets are becoming the new 'major'.
I see the future of our business as bright for several reasons; a big one is that I believe we are moving from a market model of competition, bottlenecks and scarcity of top-40 radio play slots to an industry based on community, sharing of resources and an explosion of distribution possibilities. One of the best things that has happened to music is a growing national organization called "Indie Connect", founded by Vinny Ribas. Local musician social websites like "Nashville Music Pros", founded by Bret Teegarden, are great places to stay abreast of changes and share resources.

What we must do is stay willing to learn, embrace instead of moan about change and make the most creative music of our lives. Not a bad thing to look forward to, imho.

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  • At January 28, 2011 at 7:53 AM , Blogger Mike Coleman said...

    This is a well-written, timely post. You are right on track with your description of the changing music industry. It will take a different approach, new strategies, and a lot more work to achieve success in this new music business, but the opportunities are still there.

  • At January 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM , Anonymous Leigh Ann said...

    Interesting. I hope radio stations change with the industry. I'd love to hear more indie artists and more than the same few songs over and over for months.

  • At January 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM , Anonymous Nicholas Tozier said...

    This is an incredibly exciting time for musicians--and for listeners, too.

    My hat's off to you, Judy, for being so forward-thinking and for embracing these tumultuous times.

    If you don't read him already, I think you'll get a kick out of Seth Godin's blog. Marketing is changing, too--Seth is one of the new marketers and I find everything he says relevant to my projects--whether it's recording an album, writing an eBook, or building the songwriting blog one article at a time.

    Great article. I'll be back!

  • At January 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM , Anonymous Nicholas Tozier said...

    Forgot the url! http://sethgodin.typepad.com

  • At January 28, 2011 at 7:04 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Thank you all so much.. glad you are seeing this, too.

    Nicholas.. yes, I have been following Seth Godin for quite a while... a maverick voice of community, a creative genius in marketing and promotion and one of my heros.

    Mike, I had a feeling you would agree, because this is how you've taught me to do business, too.

    Leigh Ann.. I sooooooo feel ya, and would love that, too for my own bored ears! HA!

  • At January 29, 2011 at 7:37 AM , Anonymous Arne Benoni said...

    I agree, Judy. What you bring up is important matters. We have to rethink and adjust “the coarse” before it’s too late. Nothing will be like it used to. I’m not thinking of abandon Country Music, but I have a plan to do some changes. Maybe record fewer songs at a time also. I’m still unsure were to go, but I’ve put any recording plans for me on hold ‘til I find out how to bypass the problems we all face.

  • At January 29, 2011 at 7:39 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Thank you, Arne… yes, there are so many things we think we have to do the same way that we… don’t! Keep in touch… community antennae’s rock!

  • At February 7, 2011 at 3:15 PM , Anonymous Angela Artemis said...

    I just wanted to congratulate you on being named by WE Magazine as one of their 101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2011~!

    I'm on the list as well and wanted to meet the other talented bloggers they named.

    Congratulations again.
    Angela Artemis
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