Mike Kiley, of The Mural and the Mint
and formerly Cordelane, along side Kristin Thompson, of the Future of Music Coalition
, formerly of the band Tsunami and Simple Machines Records discussed with us this friction and avenues for its alleviation. Internet technology has opened the record industry modes of production up to the masses, and in turn, the masses have formed many new bands. The hardest working of this strata sometimes create and distribute a successful record, sometimes this record has a successful follow-up, albeit less frequently. The reduced barriers to entry (home recording equipment, myspace, a surplus of '88 Econoline vans) have brought with them fierce competition and a shorter shelf lives.
That said, there is a future in innovation. In 1919 D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and friends formed United Artists to side-step the studio system. Of late it has become just another studio, owned in part by Tom Cruise, but it had a good run. In years past several cooperative music ventures have come and gone, none quite able to proliferate to a position of leverage, but the idea is sound. Eventful
is a relatively new service, which allows fans to petition artists for shows. A tour can now be scheduled by demand, not faith. Metrics exist to help bands quantify and leverage their popularity before ever pressing a record (google analytics
on the blog, myspace
song plays, diggs
, offers for places to crash). Licensing deals get songs placed on MTV docudramas, Apple commercials, in retail stores, and get bands much-needed money up front. Rapsody
, etc. afford bands with a global distribution model even if they've never left Weehawkin. These all seem to be given.
Bands looking to transcend temporality must be slightly more agile. The tools to succeed are now readily available and often free. Recording, exposure, touring, and distribution are all aided by software. Making it in music has always been assisted by perseverance, and staying-power can get a booster shot from technology. The world still has room for musical boot-strappers and entrepreneurs, right?