From the introduction of internet music streaming services to musicians having greater control over their craft, these are the six things that have changed the music industry for the better.
Just like fashion, the music industry is also on a constant loop. But while it continuously revolves around trends that come back after a few years, it also evolves in various ways that impact the artists, the audience, and all the other related businesses along the way.
From the development of online music streaming platforms to the era of artists having more control over their crafts, here are the six factors that changed the music industry for the better.
The development of online music streaming platforms
The development of streaming sites is one of, if not the most pivotal, moments in the music industry. Back then, the need to purchase CDs and iTunes songs left more chances for people to pirate songs to listen to. If you didn’t have an extra budget to buy an album that averagely costs around $18, then you’d either have to illegally download songs or settle with waiting for your jam to play on the radio.
That isn’t the case anymore. With an abundance of options where you can listen to music for free, people are opting to wait through the ads and listen instead of downloading songs from sketchy websites. According to a Nielsen study in 2018,611 billion songs were streamed in that year alone.
And this number isn’t only for professional mainstream musicians. The development of music and video streaming platforms also helped in giving more artists chances to shine. Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Charlie Puth, and even Justin Bieber are all examples of people that started off on popular streaming sites before being discovered.
The dominance of mobile phones as the medium for listening
Rather than just sticking to being a means to communicate, smartphones were invented to make lives more convenient as a whole. And listening to music became an integral part of it.
The invention of smartphones and the development of the internet provided a way for people to have access to millions of songs and even store them in one pocket-sized device.
The music industry’s retaliation against the COVID-19 pandemic
The two factors stated above would then be combined to help billions of people survive the unforeseen mental and emotional challenges that the recent global pandemic brought.
The concert industry has been one of the casualties of the rapid spread of the Corona Virus. Reports state that$30 billion were lost in 2020. With tours, concerts, and other physical events prohibited for more than a year, the industry had to adapt quickly to lessen its financial losses.
This adjustment led to unprecedented ways for musicians to engage with their fans. With the use of live streaming, artists started performing directly for their fans from their own homes. These virtual events may not help artists and their labels earn from the streaming platforms, but the royalties and sponsorships they reap are still beneficial enough to keep it going.
This also led to the discovery that the whole process, from writing songs to post-production engineering, is doable in a remote setup. With this, more content is expected to be made continuously as the industry adjusts.
The relationship of the music industry with other forms of creative expression
The artistry of music has elevated other arts-related businesses. Album covers went from being portraits of the bands to more creative visual storytelling aids that are vital parts of the whole experience.
And apart from lifestyle photography companies and digital artists benefiting from this, videographers, cinematographers, and other members of film crews also get more financial opportunities. This is mainly due to the rise in relevance of music videos and their part in telling the story of the song.
With the intensity and devotion that fandoms in this era have, the sales of musician-related merchandise have also skyrocketed from One Direction shirts and pillows to Blank Pink coffee and burgers. Fans would buy anything to support their idols.
The rise of K-Pop
Speaking of Black Pink, the rise of K-Pop paved the way for a more diversified industry. Girl’s Generation, BTS, 2ne1, and Black Pink, among many others, started opening the eyes and ears of people to loving something they didn’t fully understand. And this led to a more inclusive industry.
Another great example of this is Despacito. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s song can only be considered a global phenomenon with a whopping 6.5 billion views on YouTube. But the best example would be how BTS got nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the Grammys 2021, showing a promising journey to a more accepting industry.
Artists having more control over their craft
One of the most talked-about topics in the industry now is Taylor Swift’s re-recorded version of All Too Well. Besides all the speculation revolving around the relationship, she and a certain actor had, what’s truly game-changing is the implications that the successful Taylor’s Versions have.
Taylor decided to re-record her songs to have full control over them since the talks with her previous record label regarding the acquisition of the masters of her six albums did not go too well. But since, as the songwriter, she owns the rights to the melodies, lyrics, and music as a whole, she opted just to let the person who bought the label have her records and re-recorded her music instead.
This move not only devalues the original masters but also gives her the freedom as an artist to control how her music is handled.
The bottom line
With all these changes in the music industry, one thing remains the same. People need music. And as the world develops in a more progressive way, the hope for a better and healthier experience for both the audience and the artists is now within reach.