It was a big week on the internet. Popular sites including Google spent the entire day protesting SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which is a bill that would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to protect copyrights.
For the last several years the music industry suffered knockout blows from online piracy and critics have accused music executives from ripping off artists and consumers. Dot-comers accused them of greed and short-sightedness, seen as the fat cats making obscene profits on the back of musicians’ creativity.
At the end of the day, web gurus such as Kim Dotcom are more greedy and arrogant than record execs.
Kim Dotcom, the 37-year-old man behind Megaupload.com makes no apologies for ripping off artists and he says this about music labels.
“You need to understand that some labels are run by arrogant and outdated dinosaurs who have been in business for 1,000 years,” Mr Dotcom said. “These guys think an iPad is a facial treatment, the internet is the devil, and wired phones are still hip. They are in denial about the new realities and opportunities. They don’t understand that the rip-off days are over.
Kim Dotcom generated over $175 million in subscriptions and advertising while ripping off $500 million from copyright holders.
Kim Dotcom is living in a multi-million mansion in New Zealand and sponsored a $500,000 New Year’s eve fireworks display celebrating his move. He races Mercedes and you can find him posing with women beside a large yacht. Mr. Dotcom and his crew own more than 20 sports cars that feature numbered plates reading GOD and HACKER.
Who are the arrogant fat cats ripping off the artists? It’s obvious.
The US government shut down one of the world’s largest filesharing website Megaupload that received 50 million daily visitors, accounting 4% of total internet traffic.
According to prosecutors, Megaupload illegally cheated copyright holders out of $500m in revenue as part of a criminal enterprise spanning five years.
Kickstarter helped raise nearly $20 million for musicians last year.
“Music was the second most-funded category behind Film & Video last year, according to stats just shared by Kickstarter. In total, music projects rallied $19,801,685 (and 21 cents), a healthy chunk of the nearly $100 million in pledges in 2011. That is more than triple the volume from 2010, though we don’t have a music-specific breakdown from last year. ” (Digital Music News)
2011 was another year that changed the musical landscape especially for new artists that are trying to build a career.
The popularity of Facebook prompted artists to use the mega social network as a prime destination spot for fans and attracting new fans. Utilizing Facebook as promotional tool for artists remains competitive. Capturing the publics interest is a challenge in an environment that thrives on minute by minute information.
Of course, great songs and a solid story trumps all other marketing techniques, Adele being a great example. She is overweight and kept her clothes on separating herself from other pop artists. Her success should prove to hopeful artists that there is life beyond pop artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry that are cut from the same rug.
After talking to hundreds of artists this past year I hear the same recurring theme. How do I expose my music? Or why isn’t anyone buying my songs? If these questions were proposed to me 10 years ago, I would have the answers. Lock yourself in a studio, record well crafted songs, tour, build a buzz, negotiate a record deal, and land on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.
Ironically, The cover of a recent issue of Rolling Stone Magazine featured a relatively unknown band called The Sheepdogs. The band mustered up about 2000 Facebook like over a 2 week period. Hence, Rolling Stone magazine won’t provide you a career, and a late night performance on David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel won’t have a significant impact either. It’s not that late nights and magazines are not relevant, it’s the content or musical act that’s not making an impact. Don’t blame the messenger, blame the message. I understand my site is only as valuable as the content I publish.
If your waiting for a solution, I am here to tell you that I don’t have one. Neither does anybody else even though they claim to have one. I can only reveal scenarios that have always worked. You need to be on FM radio to have a place in music because the majority of Americans are tuning in. It’s a shocking statistic, but it’s a fact. There are indie acts that make a mark without radio, but it’s an exception and not the rule. I’m here talking about rules, not exceptions. I cannot provide a detailed plan to achieve radio airplay, I just know it’s necessary.
Understanding current tastes will greatly give you an edge. Tastes change quickly but the entertainment business is a gamble. The idea is that you want to understand the current taste and still write from the heart. Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s been done. This is the ingredient that allowed the legendary acts to survive through the 70’s,80’s,90’s etc.
Rather being consumed by marketing techniques, focus on the music, because music in itself is more powerful than any other marketing strategy. Think of music as the ultimate power source, not Facebook Likes. Presidents have used music to stir up people in there campaigns. Nations who have fought wars used music for victories and defeats. Music is used for worship among all faiths from the beginning of man.
In conclusion, music is the fuel that lights the fire and never underestimate it’s effectiveness in promotion. If you find yourself struggling, it’s more likely the music than the marketing technique. Keep on writing…
Artists believe that Facebook ‘Likes’ hold more value than email signups, Youtube subscribers, and twitter followers according to a survey conducted by ReverbNation and Digital Music News.