There’s a little tiny mushroom industry of music marketers growing. A lot of them offer digital services to help “promote” you. Bands are falling for it. Musicians want to believe that, with enough clever marketing on this magical thing called “the Internet,” they’ll still become rockstars.
The fundamental problem with this belief is that people don’t pay for music anymore. Sure, you might get 10,000 Facebook likes. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be making any money. Literally… any… money.
Now, it’s not like every band was making millions before the Internet. However, almost all of them could at least depend on one thing for sure: album purchases from fans. Maybe the fans liked everything on an album, maybe they liked two or three songs.
Either way, there was no other way for fans to consistently listen to your music other than buying your album.
Today, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of ways for fans to simply not give you any money and listen to your music. Digital music has been unchained from the chain of commerce. And bands have become the missing link. This isn’t debatable: album sales have consistently hit new lows almost every quarter.
Digital marketing and digital music have become a music lover’s paradise… except any band that doesn’t have the popular support of millions of people is going to be left behind, leaving us with boring, predictable, faux-controversial, vanilla music that is as accessible as possible.
Streaming platforms – via Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube – have created a culture where “listening to music” is as easy as turning on the faucet. Just like water, music has become a utility. But if we’re being taught that music is interchangeable, on tap and always available, how do bands make money?