The modern music industry is not what it used to be. This is not a secret for anyone who has been involved in this industry at all, either as a professional, or a consumer. Singer-songwriter Stephanie Berlanga is the youngest panelist on “Making a Connection: New Media and Content Distribution,” but even she agrees that within just ten years of her music career, things have shifted. She discussed her use of MySpace, starting out when she was only 16. From there she moved to the still growing platform, YouTube. Now she takes advantage of different tools like YouNow, through which she’s able to live stream for her fans, and TuneCore, a popular digital music distribution service.
Bill Thompson, Course Director for the Entertainment Business program and industry veteran, recalled his days from the 1970s to today. He praised the opportunities there are today to mass promote your work without the help of major labels, something unheard of before the dawn of the digital age.
“Hesitate to sign the first deal they give you.” –Kim Craft, moderator.
Aaron Ford, Digital Advertising Director at the Orchard, and Kristopher Nichols, Course Director for the Music Business program, also talked about the advantages of making a name for yourself as an independent artist. They spoke about digital music distribution services like TuneCore and CD Baby, which allow independent artists to get their music on services like iTunes and Spotify. Ford also discussed the relevance of Spotify for artists today, highlighting its potential for garnering newer and bigger audiences.
The panelists believe that revenue is still viable for music artists today, even independent ones, but that garnering and understanding your fans is crucial for this. “Your fans should be advocates for you,” said Nichols. Berlanga agreed and shared her experiences on growing an audience from the ground up through persistence and determination. Ford built upon this by stressing that artists should know what they offer to the scene, what makes them unique, and how hard they’re willing to work for it.
“(Audiences) know they don’t have to pay for music, but they still want to support an artist.” –Aaron Ford.
Written By: Alejandro Montaño