Before we go on, I'd like to take a moment to share a bit about myself with you personally. My name is Chris and I am an assistant/engineer here at Jambox Recording Studios. I am also a college student working toward a degree in Music Management with a minor in Marketing. I find myself trying to break into an industry with that is changing drastically right now, and there are days that make me feel like I got into the right business at the wrong time. Major labels are losing money, piracy is as big a problem as it has ever been, and companies big and small, from local Mom & Pop record stores to million-dollar entertainment companies, are going belly up.
Now I'm not saying that I am second guessing myself here, but with all that seemingly going against me, I've wondered just what the hell I'm doing in this already crazy industry.
With the future so seemingly bleak, one has to wonder where the upside is. I've heard many times from industry vets that "the music business is dying." This sentiment is reflected in a WSJ report that says that CD sales for the first three months of 2007 were down 20% from 2006. CDs might be on the way out, but according to this article, they still account for the vast majority of music sales, and the latest dip in sales is outpacing the growth of digital sales.
Now is certainly a trying time for anyone who is trying to make a living off of their music, but I believe the changes that are quickly developing will ultimately be beneficial for music and the artists who make it. Making money selling music is harder than it has ever been. That should be a bad thing, but I believe that this is an obstacle that will deter anyone who is driven by money more than a genuine desire to make sincerely good music. Those artists that love their art and work diligently to refine their craft will be more likely to stick around than those who have ringtone sales on their minds, and while it will be difficult for those musicians, music fans will be the ultimate benefactors of their struggles. After all, isn't the best music about going through hard times anyway?
Furthermore, the independent artist has more power than ever. The promotional tools and options for distributing music available to small-time musicians are vast and powerful. All one needs to get started selling his/her music is a MySpace page and a Snocap account. I am constantly meeting people who are either starting up a business catering to the indie musician's need for distribution and marketing, or sharing a positive experience about such a company. As I come across such businesses, I will talk about them here. Hopefully you folks out there will find something that can help you push your product.
While a big part of the industry is dying, new ones are being born and growing. I do believe that succeeding will be tough, as I and anyone else who is new to the industry will have to traverse unexplored terrain to do so. It can be a scary thought sometimes...but aren't beaten paths dull anyway? The record industry can be tough, but nothing is worse than boredom!