The Future is Just Like the Past (But Shinier)

The last time I mentioned my favorite internet blogger Seth Godin, I had to take something he said about marketing and apply it to the music business-this week, he did it for me:

The future is just like the past (but shinier)

Of course, it’s not true.

The record business, for example, is fundamentally altered by easily sharable, zero-incremental-cost digital files. It’s not just vinyl but shiny.

Your industry has been completely and permanently altered by the connections offered by the internet. Your non-profit, your political campaign, your service business. Not a little different, not just email enabled or website marketed, but overhauled.

Unfortunately, that’s hard to embrace. But it’s still true. What are you going to do about it? If you were starting your business today, knowing what you know now, how would you do things (very) differently?

(The original post is here, btw)

So, if you were starting to play music today, and you wanted to do it professionally, how would you do things differently?

The old model was one of woodshedding, getting things right or at least as right as you could, then doing everything you could to grab for that brass ring, the major label record deal that would ensure you’d be a star. Problem was, there were only so many per year that ‘made it’ and the rest were forgotten, if they were ever even heard in the first place. For them, there wasn’t much they could do other than get straight jobs and join the rest of the work force in punching a clock.

Now, of course, anyone can write a song, post a version on Youtube, and be a viral sensation in a matter of days. That still doesn’t mean they can make any money at it, however.

I know good music when I hear it, and I could probably tell you a few ways to get that music heard by the right people, in the right way, at the right time, but even that won’t guarantee anything like the old “success” story.

Where’s the happy medium, and where does it go from here? dunno, but sooner or later somebody’s going to figure it out, and as much as music is a part of people’s lives, they’ll be bigger than Google.


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