The invention of the internet changed the way business is done. But perhaps no field changed as much as the music industry. The days of an artist writing a song, getting discovered, signing with a music label, putting out a record or CD, getting airplay on the radio, then seeing corresponding album sales are long gone. Now artists have much more control over the course of their careers. Let’s examine a few ways things have shifted by looking at facts you might not have realized about the music industry.
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1. The Rise of Streaming Services
Did you know that streaming services currently account for over 80% of revenue in the music industry? Streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music make money from either ad-supported or subscription-based models. The most popular way for buyers to hear new music used to be album sales. Then it became digital downloads. However, streaming music has now overtaken them both and is leading the way when it comes to how the music industry makes a profit.
Streaming services are constantly looking for new ways to connect users to music. They track what is popular and employ analytics to make predictions about who will be the next big artist or what type of music is on the rise. Depending on what kind of music you listen to, they will make suggestions about other songs or artists you may enjoy, hoping you will buy or stream it.
2. Social Media Has Made It Easier to Connect Artists With Fans
Before the internet, concerts were the best way for musicians to interact with and entertain their fans. It was how artists got discovered as well as promoted their album releases. Now artists can put out music, play concerts, and chat with their fans all through websites or on social media.
Another popular way to release music has become dropping an entire surprise album on fans overnight. Artists aren’t as tied to record labels as they once were, they can create music themselves and release it online in any way they choose. Beyoncé is thought to have started the trend back in 2013 with her self-titled album, forgoing the method at the time of writing an album, putting it on CD, and then shipping it to stores. She put the whole album online and turned the idea of traditional album release on its head. It’s a format that has been copied many times since and forced the industry to consider a new way of getting music to fans.
3. TikTok Is a Major Force in Music as Well
Another newly emerging way for artists to be discovered is through the TikTok app. Artists can write a song, create a video for it, then upload it to the app and watch it gain popularity. When someone watches a TikTok video and wants more information about the artist, they can connect directly to the artist’s Spotify or YouTube channel. From there, they can stream or purchase the music and the artist receives revenue from it.
Viral music sensations on TikTok can create stars overnight. Users can share a song with others, increasing the spread and awareness of the original music. TikTok sensations often involve users lip syncing or dancing to a particular song. When others see this, they want to join in the fun and create their own versions as well. The original creators of the music see a fast rise in popularity for their song and are compensated for their work.
4. Social Media Gives Music a Global Reach
With social media, now music can spread across the world instantly. Radio airplay was once a major factor in how fans were introduced to new music. But with social media, that is no longer the case. Music can spread from anywhere. The rise in popularity of K-Pop is one example of this. Fans discovered the music and wanted more, leading to huge increases in viewership on YouTube and other music outlets.
5. Getting Your Music Online Is Easier than Ever
If you are a musician, the ability to put your music online has become much more accessible. Once you know how to upload music to Spotify, it’s instantly available to your fans. You can promote your songs and let your followers know where to stream or download it. Depending on how popular it becomes, you will also reap the financial benefits. With social media and the internet, you can become your own music label.
Where Will Music Go Next?
One thing is for certain, the music industry isn’t done changing. There are always musicians looking for new outlets and ways to be discovered and the industry will continue to adapt.