we are all going niche
Mainstream music, we are used to thinking about the music industry in terms of ‘Labels’ & ‘Recording Studios’, we see programs like ‘The Voice’ and other talent shows, we might even listen to the radio and still think about ‘The Charts’.
Well of all this is changing.
The dominance of the mainstream music industry is diminished. Over the past 20 years the ability of artists to produce their own music has been made more than possible, it is a reality.
Like many other industries, digital media and technology has completely challenged the established music industry. Large recording studios have closed. The investors have abandoned the major labels, A&R people have left their employers and are more likely to have set themselves up as an independent producer.
Artists can now use digital software on a PC or Apple Mac, ‘Pro tools’, ‘Tracktion’, ‘Cubase’, ‘Sonar’ are just a couple of examples. This software combined with a few hundred dollars worth of basic equipment, microphones, audio interfaces, and of course instruments and voices enable the digitally aware musician to record their own music.
We are talking professional standards here. Not only can we record, and mix the tracks, we can get top flight audio engineers to ‘Master’ the results.
Abbey Road Studios, as one example which should be familiar to anyone who likes The Beatles, offer an online mastering service for a few hundred pounds.
This means that musicians can now produce their own products. Independent to any label, not requiring any A&R person to accept their work.
The market decides if this music is any good. It always has.
In addition to the production side to this new independent music industry, there is the marketing and distribution to consider. We have this covered with the global middleman of the internet also.
What used to involve significant investment can now be achieved through clever use of social media, access to website building services, a few thousand dollars worth of investment, compared to the hundreds of thousands, even millions needed in the 20th Century.
We have private artists networks emerging, ‘House Concerts’ as they are known.
People can sign up to host their events, meet & greet musicians they love. This is not huge yet in Australia, but it is growing internationally and will grow more in Oz too.
What this points to is a growing move towards increasingly ‘niche’ markets.
The giant corporate ventures who dominated the 20th Century are losing their customer bases. Increasingly we want unique, special, exclusive, matched, high quality products and services.
The internet, with social media and cheap large scale promotional power, is making a massive inroad into the established industries, people want this niche market. The market always determines outcomes.
What this means is that previously established markets are being displaced, replaced and reconfigured.
The wheels are still in motion, all bets are off, new ventures, new niche markets, new ways of doing things are being made possible; people are changing how they see the world, new opportunities are made possible.
The music industry continues to change, large corporate music businesses are collapsing, but this is a breath of fresh air, artists can be certain that their music will be accepted on its merits, not on the opinions of board members and industry fat cats.