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Quora Answer : Does it seem like relative unknowns in music are suddenly popular, making lots of money, winning awards, but no one has really even heard of them?

Feb 12, 2020

It always does.

The music industry is big. It's unlikely that you, or anyone else, managed to have your finger on the pulse of all the different scenes and subcultures that were bubbling under.

So you couldn't expect to know everyone who might suddenly blow up. Everyone was an unknown at some point ... right up until you got to know about them.

When you were younger, you didn't notice as much because you were more comfortable with suddenly discovering new people. You knew that the world was full of new people.

As you got older you started to assume that that world was actually that bit of it that you knew. You forget that it was, and still is much bigger.

Quora Answer : Music Production: Is it becoming normal to buy produced songs from your ideas?

Apr 1, 2015

People always paid other professionals to work on their music. Arrangers to orchestrate the string parts, sound engineers to record it, session musicians to play bass, etc.

Traditionally, though, this tended to be mediated by record labels, so most musicians only saw the market if they'd already been signed up to one. Now that the internet is disintermediating the record labels and musicians are doing more for themselves, they're starting to become aware of these other professionals.

Also, as recording studios are getting replaced by computers, a single "producer" can now do several of the roles of arranger, session musician, mastering engineer etc.

Quora Answer : Are record labels/companies a dying business in the music industry?

May 17, 2020

The old model is very much dying.

New models are arising, like Spotify's streaming model. Bandcamp's platform for anyone to release music online. People like Soundrop / CD Baby and Distrokid to help independents make CDs and sell them.

There are going to be people who curate music. People who manage musicians and help them with the complexities of producing a finished product. There will be people who manage marketing, making the videos etc. And help with social media.

Some combination of these functions might still end up under the umbrella of a "label". But maybe the people who do this might call themselves something else and have a less public image than record labels have previously presented. Be more "management company" than "label" in the traditional sense.

Quora Answer : Is the future of the music industry as a money-making machine in trouble? When was the last time you bought any music?

Oct 21, 2019

There's still money to be made from music.

There isn't so much money to be made from selling copies of recordings.

On the whole, I think that's a good thing. The business model of restricting the free-flow of non-scarce music data was always out-of-sync with our powers and inclinations. And arbitrary restrictions on being able to listen to something, just because of laws, suck big time.

Increasingly musicians are being paid in an "attention economy". They try to win a lot of fans (attention), but then charge money for paying particular attention back. In the form of live shows, and custom appearances etc.

This is quite eye-opening :

YouTube is another place where musicians, like other YouTubers, make money by building some kind of community and paying attention to their fan-base.

In terms of last time I bought music, these days I only ever buy music on BandCamp, from more underground artists that I like and want to support. (The last thing I actually bought, a couple of months ago, was : Nuff Pedals- The Third EP, by GutterFunk because I wanted some contemporary danceable tunes to play at a party.)

But in that context, I buy quite a lot, especially of "pay what you like" EPs for a couple of dollars. It's basically a kind of tip-jar.

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