In music things change fast. The distribution models for publishing and monetizing music have been altered many times over the last few years. Based on this I made an illustration. It truly is a jungle out there…
A quick illustration; how fast the business moved from “Buy my new album, now available on iTunes” to (this from 2014’s Grammy winner):
Not everything was better in the past, but some things was easier to understand back then. If an independent artist in 1998 printed 5.000 copies of an album and sold this in 4-6 months, it was fairly easy to estimate earnings and see which promotion worked and which didn’t. Today, when the CD is gone and the iTunes model is being replaced by free streaming and YouTube, we are in a much different world.
Here is an illustration of the situation:
Many Likes Needed
In order to make money on music today you need lots of fans in the social media sphere. The artist mentioned above will probably need at least 100.000 fans who eagerly stream his/her music to make the same amount of money. But that’s OK, we all have to work for a living. My point is that today’s new business model requires much more in terms of promotion, both for the independent artist and the label. It takes a lot to create and maintain a strong social media presence.
I hope that we soon will see some stability in the business model after all these changes. We must not forget that many artists will be very successful and happy – also in a commercial sense – with the new model.