Every once in a while I get the urge to write about something else than music. Well not really, but I mean this piece is about how modern day producers rise to power.
Back in the days of vinyl, record labels dominated the market with their huge marketing budgets. The new generation is all about DIY…do it yourself. With the digitalization of music came platforms like Soundcloud that offer everything a creator of music needs. If you want to give away music that’s easily done with a direct download or if you want a steady following on Facebook, you just link to a like gate page. Unfortunately Facebook will stop supporting like gating on November 5th, 2014.
Gaining hundreds or thousands of followers nowadays looks simple since the general public knows where and how to look. On the other hand, alone is just alone and lately individuals have been forming alliances to build an even bigger and stronger following. These coalitions or internet labels as many call themselves consist of 10, 20 or 40 producers that combine their knowledge, network and marketing efforts. This seems to be a winning formula and platforms such as AGO, Modern Filth and Flow-Fi are gaining large amounts of fans.
The question that pops to mind is: what role will record labels be playing in the years to come? Now there’s still thousands of labels that do provide artwork, distribution and mastering of course. I often wonder in what capacity these newly formed collectives invest in things like mastering and distribution. Does is sound ‘good enough’ to go on Soundcloud? Will an EP be distributed through a Facebook fangate page only?
Now I’m not judging anyone here, but I’m simply looking from the outside in. These past two years have been all about the numbers. Or so it seems. Big numbers being good, small numbers being boring. On their quest to getting these numbers, are some perhaps lowering the quality standards? Let’s not forget there is a reason why people get their music mixed & mastered properly before offering it to the public. Or is quality not so much the issue when it comes to modern day music?
What I do know is that a new way of promoting music is interesting. Most producers I talk to are well aware of the fact their music is not going to earn them a penny. That’s not the goal anymore though. For reaching those 100K followers or 500K plays is the current ambition. Getting noticed is what it takes to rise to power.