There are a lot of creative people out there and a good portion of them are brilliant or would-be brilliant musicians. We may never hear about some of these people for the simple reason that their mentality is stuck in a bygone age. That, of course, is the age where a select few industry people made the decisions as to who was allowed into the “club” or not. In those days, without the assistance of a record label, it was virtually impossible to find any success as a recording artist. Those who tried ran into gigantic financial barriers, not the least of which were recording/production and marketing/promotion costs. It doesn’t matter how genuine a musician’s art is, without an audience their music dies a silent death – and without some well-placed promotion, there’s not much chance of an audience.
Well, all that is in the past. In the modern do-it-yourself age of the internet, the possibilities have become nearly endless. Not only are there a multitude of accessible solutions for marketing and promotion, but resources abound for learning skills on the production end of the spectrum. An average broke musician with few prospects can be transformed into a music industry jack-of-all-trades and virtually eliminate most of the costs once affiliated with creating and releasing an album.
An interesting point to keep in mind is that the old ways of commercial advertising are nearing an early grave. People of today want the genuine article and, after generations of advertisers slamming them with gimmicks and sales tactics, they have become pretty sharp to spot a fraud. What people are looking for is good entertainment, and lots of it. By posting original music online, that is both relevant to an existing audience and of high quality, the most important step has been taken. They don’t want the music to be advertised to them, they want it to be shared with them – and there are a lot of ways to do it. Music sharing sites such as Soundcloud and video sharing sites such as YouTube are key platforms that have helped reshape the industry. Once upon a time, it was essential to get your music on the radio – a task that was next-to-impossible without the assistance of a record label. The fact is, free online sharing platforms are the places people go to listen to music nowadays. Since they are free and have few limits to what can be posted, they also create a great testing ground for new ideas that can help a musician shape his or her direction.
When it comes time to cash-in and reach for the coveted “professional” status, there are a number of easy-to-use and low-cost distribution services available. Sites such as CDBaby and TuneCore offer a solution for the once insurmountable hurdle of any would-be self-published artist: global distribution without any need for a record label.
In this era, music listening audiences have become more fragmented than ever before. This means that playing music within a niche style has actually gone from a con to a pro. An artist no longer needs to write music within the strict “radio-friendly” limitations in order to make a living with their art. Plus, the fact that there are billions of music-listeners online every day means that there is plenty of audience to go around.