Fortunately, over The past decade, the Music industry has been both heavily impacted and positively influenced by the widespread and abundant use of Social Media and Technology. Music has become a way of life and a huge source of entertainment for our upcoming generation. Today's technology gives them unlimited access to whatever they choose to listen to, no matter the genre or production year. Abhijit Sen, Author of “Music in the digital age“ Stated that “The convergence of music production, creation, distribution, exhibition and presentation enabled by the digital communications technology has swept through and shaken the music industry as never before”(Sen pp.2). From the many online platforms of which music is now promoted on to the ease of interaction between an artist and their fans, the many ways in which the industry benefits are remarkable.
I am a proud consumer of hip-hop and r&b music and I can personally see the technological effect first hand. From characteristics such as promotion to how easily an artist can interact with consumers on their behalf to back up bad reviews or backlash as a reaction to their product. The leading route of my interest in this topic has come from the split belief that the music industry has either thrive or pummeled due to social media and technology. As there are ups and downs to every situation, the music industry has surely moved in the right direction in which both the artist and consumer can benefit. Though it took time for the industry as a whole to adapt to the new changes that were occurring, since it has been introduced, technology has driven the music industry to success and threw marketing and promoting artists and product to consumers in a way never imagined.
In regard to the use of technology, music distribution has gone from portable copies such audio cassettes, vinyl, and CD's to an electronic form which allows you to access music on the go on all and any of your electronic devices, you can download and stream music live on any electronic device. You can create a playlist and group tons of your favorite music from many varieties, all onto one track with ease. Streaming is now the go-to for music. Streaming services and platforms such as apple music, Spotify, and tidal require paid subscription which then allow the consumer to access millions of songs at their leisure. Some platforms limit its users to shuffled songs and restricts choosing songs without a paid subscription. Though you can still enjoy the service, the platforms play music related to or in the same genre as the song that you type into the search bar. It gives the consumer a taste of the platform and urges them to subscribe to receive full benefits such as listening to what you want when you want and ad-free music.
Streaming is referred to as a paid subscriptions of a platform and according to Patricia Hernandez, Author of “Music sale revenues largely come from the same place now” states that “Streaming now accounts for 75% of the music industry revenue.” Making more revenue than physical CD's, digital downloads, and licensing deals all combined; streaming has become the most common format for music in the United States. Gone is the days when people would line up outside of a music shop waiting for a new CD to be released as “CD sales are down 80% in the last decade” according to Hernandez. There are roughly 1 million new consumers subscribing to streaming services and platforms per month, this increases the revenue the music industry receives from streaming as it decreases the number of physical copies that record labels sell. “ … being prominent on dozens of different digital platforms is… critical for success.”(Hernandez) It is in an artist's best interest to make sure that their product stands out and keeps their fan base satisfied, unsatisfied consumers can dislike songs which the platform takes into account and keeps the song along with similar songs out of their playlist.
According to Hernandez so far this year (2018), the music industry has received 3.4 million dollars in digital sales. Streaming makes up 75%, digital downloads make up 12%, physical copies make up 10% and Syncing accounts for 3% of all Music sales. “70,000 different albums were released mid-year.”(Hernandez) Music has become easy to market and release with the aid of technology that the number of singles and albums released per year has been significantly increasing.
Social media have begun to be used as a marketing source for the music industry in which the music producer will use the platforms to push the sales of records and raise the popularity of an artist. In ” Harnessing the Power of Social Media in the Music Industry: A Finnish Case Study” Author Jari Salo explored how the music industry and consumers perceive marketing actions in social media. The study is based on YouTube, Facebook, and Myspace which is the most widely used user-generated content websites for artist marketing in the music industry. Salo states that social media applications and social networking enables effective viral marketing where brand communication in the form of marketing messages spreads fast and wide in the different networks assuming that the message is alluring enough. (285) This speaks truth into the promotional aspect and how the Music companies market with online platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, which then leads to communication threw brands. It is perceived that
the effectiveness of viral marketing relies heavily on the same factors like word of mouth in which trust is placed in the sender of the message and their experience with the product.
The Music Industry and major record labels had to find growth in a variety of new types of profits. In a time when physical sales started to drop and online streaming had been increasing, record labels where stressing where they would see revenue. Tim Arango, Author of “Digital Sales Surpass CDs at Atlantic.” stated “... the hope that digital revenue will eventually compensate for declining sales of CD's and usher in overall growth have largely been bashed.” Record label executives are caught fighting to keep a hold on as much of their old way of business as possible, while also transitioning to digital. NBC Universal's Chief executive Jeff Zucker referred to it as “Trading analog dollars for digital pennies.” In making that transition to a digital business, the music business has become immeasurably more complicated.
As you can tell, The music industry is completely different in every aspect then it was just decades ago. From artist awareness, promotion of the product, sponsors, fan interactions and streaming. By using Social Media to their advantage unsigned artist can promote their product on any online platform which gives them the ability to spread their music and build a fan base. Social media has changed the way that both the artist and consumer interact and how the artist markets themselves. Music has become very widespread and easy to access threw streaming, and many online platforms which enable better promotion and distribution of product than in the past. This allows for a huge window for interaction between the artist and the fan, which leads to them both benefiting?
The rise of digital music and the increasing use of social media on the music industry could be the end for many record companies that cannot adapt to the change. Sherrian Fullerton, author of “Good or Bad? Social Media's Influence On The Music Industry.” stated, “social media has made the idea of buying records an idea of the past, but despite this, the benefits that social media offers can be used to the record companies advantage to increase the size of their revenue.” Instead of seeing social media and technology as a negative light, record labels should focus on embracing it and adapting to the changing environment of the music industry because social media is definitely not a phase, it became a major shift in life, and the way we communicate.
In the past, Record label companies controlled the industry and its ways of marketing. The artist would sign a long-term contract and basically be committed to producing music for the label they signed for, executive decisions on what kind of music and when it would be released was up to the Label. In his paper “Music in the Digital Age: Musicians and Fans Around the World “Come Together” on the Net” Dr. Abhijit Sen stated that “The music industry was born about a century ago when innovations allowed the capture, storage and replaying of sound. Ever since the industry adapted to many technological advances in sound technologies.” (5). Sen introduces the music industry and its ways of marketing, promoting, and distributing in the past, and compares it to its modern-day operation. “... forced buyers to buy an album in order to get one or two songs or musical pieces of their choice..”(Sen 6) Big record label companies would construct albums in a way that gave the consumers no choice but to buy an entire CD just to be able to listen to a song or two, they used this power to their advantage which leads to high record sales and multi-selling platinum (meaning the album sold over one million copies), and double platinum albums.
Within the past decade the Advancement of the Music Industry without a doubt benefits both the Artist and Consumer. The increasing use of technology and social media aids in making music obtainable with the tape of your finger. Consumers are satisfied while Artists are able to interact with consumers at their leisure, directly and indirectly. The change in operation from being physical such as CDs, vinyl, and concert tickets to digital streaming and downloads has not been easy, though, many record labels were continuing with the old operation of business as much as possible while adapting to what they were being introduced to. As streaming and digital music satisfaction continue to increase, record labels are continuously adapting to the new culture while they are benefiting from the digital sales and promotion. The advancement is notorious and the current upcoming generation is not showing any signs of decreasing their technology use, leading one to assume that the Music Industry will continue to move in the direction that it is currently going. It is certain that the Music industry will continue to see a decrease in physical sales until they become a thing of the past while digital sales and technology increasingly take over the music industry.
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