The value of music in 2019

In 2019 the internet has really changed the way that people consume music and it has changed the landscape for up and coming artists to get their voice heard. The age of the record label seems to be reducing as young, empowered artists are able to launch projects themselves and create a buzz around their music on social media.

The ability to release music has never been easier with many companies offering digital distribution for prices so low that even four or five sales will break even. Streaming is a big buzz word right now with many debates around the payment artists receive from the major streaming platforms and the way consumers choose to access this content.

This leads to a bigger question, have we (both consumers and artists) devalued music with this new technological age?

On one hand, for the monthly cost of a single album, you can stream millions of tracks by millions of artists, you could argue that streaming could spell the end of sales. Why spend money on one album, when you can spend the same amount of money and have access to anything, anywhere, anytime.

Many artists speak openly about being offered opportunities to perform or have work featured for “exposure” rather than a financial reward. Has this change been brought on by the consumers’ view that music is no longer seen as an important purchase? I grew up buying albums and I still do. I love the feeling of spending hours flipping through racks and racks of vinyl records and buying albums to build my collection.

The downside to many of these online services comes from immediate access to the music that the consumer sees. This removes a lot of the excitement about buying new music and reduces the importance of these songs to the fans. In turn, this translates to a lower income for the bands because your income is now stream-based, not sales-based.

For artists, these services must be embraced. This is the way the music industry functions. Embrace streaming, but don’t forget that your true fans will still buy your physical copies. Consider streaming a way to reach new people but once you’ve reached them, it’s down to you to hook them in and convert them.

For me, music is not just about listening. It’s about the entire experience of finding the album you want, looking at the cover, reading the booklet and the liner notes and then immersing yourself into the audio. Let’s hope this form of media doesn’t go away.

Leigh Fuge, MGR Music

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