What I’m not going to do in this post is give you a list of 10 things you can do today that you probably already know about, or that aren’t going to help you stand out at all. What I am going to do is give you a reality check.
So you have 2 choices to start out with:
1. Start from the beginning and learn the background information needed to take a well-measured, strategic approach to the problem
2. Take the shortcut and go straight to THE ANSWER, a little further down on the page.
The state of the current mainstream music industry is horrible. It’s a sinking ship that even the rich guys wish they could jump off of…but they can’t. However this does not spell the end of the music industry, just the “mainstream” one.
It turns out there’s a whole other living, breathing, and relatively healthy independent music industry that runs parallel to the mainstream, but is hugely overshadowed, even though is have substantially more artists than the mainstream one.
So how do you stay on the ship that’s not sinking while getting noticed? Well remember, the overshadowing ship is sinking, and it’ll eventually go down.
But waiting sucks! And then once the mainstream goes down, how is the independent music industry going to be organized enough to stay afloat?
The answer comes with some patience, and the abilitity to make the right move at the right time..but there is more to it than that.
What people don’t see is what’s actually making the mighty giants fall. Guess what? It’s called the Internet. The wait won’t be so long after all, because while this force pushes the mainstream down, this same force is lifting the independents up. There’s something to be hopeful about here.
The current problems with music online still involve promotion, and of course piracy. But I’m proud to probably be the first to tell you that these two problems can be completely solved, if we use the Internet the right way. It doesn’t mean the solutions are in place right now, but it does mean that they exist…I’ll show you in a minute.
However, solutions like these don’t just happen. Whenever there’s masses of people demanding change, it usually takes some sort of inside organization or committee to actually go through the process of orcheastrating and implementing that change for the rest of the masses. There has to be a representative of the people to structure the new rules. But who will delegate this committee for the independents? Will there be a vote or what?
There will be no vote..just a group of independent artists who want to see these problem solved, and who won’t wait for other people to do it for them. It will be someone who just decides to take charge for everyone, because they realize someone has to. So who will this group of people be? Well, it’s nice to meet you, my names Dante, and I’m the leader of the Beat-Play team.
So there are two major problems here. One is piracy, and one is online promotion/distribution without spamming. It turns out, the solution to both of these problems comes from the same, simple tool.
See the reason these problems still exist is because indie artists don’t have the right tools to take advantage of the golden opportunity sitting right in front of them(Read above to see what this is). As a fed up independent artist, I’ve spend the last 3 years designing these tools that can take independents to the next level, and now they’re ridiculously close to hitting the web.
The solution starts with a social network..but not just any social network. It’s got to involve the WHOLE independent artist community, and then spread to the fans. Once this network is set up, the end(or irrelevance) of piracy, and promotion without spamming, can occur.
Here’s where the tools come in. Imagine on this social network, you have a radio player that follows you everywhere, similar to thesixtyone.com. On here though, you can follow people with similar tastes in music as you, (your friends, favorite artists, ect) and any music saved in their playlists will automatically get sent to your radio when you press play, either completely randomized, or by your control. You can put filters on genres, tags, moods, playlists, new or old content, and there’ll be many other options eventually. If you like a song enough, you will put it in one of your playlists, and then anyone following you will automatically get introduced to it. What this does for the independent artists, is create a completely viral system of automated word of mouth. If the music is good enough, it will get passed on. If it isn’t good, it won’t go any further.
This could completely take the place of traditional promotional methods today, and not just with music, but it could apply to almost anything. There..simple. Now that the promotional problem is solved, let’s take a look at the piracy issue.
Say I’m a really great musician, and now thousands of people are listening to my music thanks to this new promotional tool. Well, it’s still safe to say that if I sell my music, people will still somehow get it for free. So the other logical option is for me to give it away for free directly. Then I can track whenever someone safely downloads my music, plays it, shares it, views my profile, my videos, my merchandise store, my streaming concerts, or whatever other cool stuff comes to be supported on this platform. What I do with these numbers is submit them to the social network platform, who will give me ad revenues based on the numbers of people I’m attracting to my content. There will be different brackets of artists, each worth a specific amount for advertisers. The most popular artists will get the highest percentage back.
What makes this beautiful is that the ads don’t cost more to implement for the social network, but the advertisers will get charged more for the popular artists, leaving that increase to go straight to the source: the artists. It is also worth noting that the ads do not have to be big, obtrusive, flashy banners. They can simply be little icons in the corner of a radio player that serve a very important purpose: allowing people to get your music for free! With these tools in place, making money from your music will be as simple as uploading it and giving it away, as long as you have a decent size network to help the start of your music’s spread.
Everyone is connected to everyone. Your friends know people you don’t know, and you know people they don’t. The chain is continuous; it never stops, just goes full circle. Taking advantage of this fact online is not as hard as you would think, and this could spell real change for independent artists. The internet is itself, a tool. It’s this tool that has enabled it’s users to dislodge and divert traditional mainstream methods, and it’s this tool that creates the opportunity for the other tools necessary in order to build newer, lasting structures. These tools WILL give independents the upper hand, once people learn to use them.
The strategy for now..stay patient! Don’t sign with a label! Don’t even sign up for ASCAP or one of those rip offs. Streaming is the future, and ad revenues can always be tied to a stream. As for this social network, and these tools, they’re coming! They’re in development right now, and they will be in beta by the spring of this year, 2010! Remember, we need the whole independent community to get behind this in order for it to work. So spread the message, spread the ideas, and spread this post. The future of music is a lot brighter than people may think.
Contact the Beat-Play Team for more information.
Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC