The music industry is split at the seams again and it’s up to the smart artist or label to adapt or die.
I’m not talking about major label marketing muscle darlings here. I’m speaking to bandcamp net labels and bands who still get in the van.
What you used to know about snakeoil “the music industry” doesn’t apply anymore.
There are now two heads to the new industry: distributors of sound and marketeers of product.
Forget about making any money on the former. We all know that Napster killed the labels, and the only way to sell music is to give some away for free or an email address. This part is still true, but what’s more important now is that people would rather stream than download. Hell, most of us are just on our phones now anyways (including the composition of this post).
Bands: stop whining about small royalties payouts from Spotify. You’re a musician, you should be used to not getting paid fairly for your work. Write better songs and the chance of making money will increase.
In all seriousness, think about it: the customer pays the price of one full album a month for unlimited listening. You do the division. It’s not like SoundCloud or YouTube pay you without having to resort to ads or partner programs.
People would rather stream than download. If its great, I’ll name my price in Bandcamp and get my precious Apple Lossless download. I’ve noticed fans usually just let a song play then decide or just refer to the songs location (a YouTube video, a SoundCloud track, a Spotify playlist) than grab the “hard” copy for them to sync to their already Internet-connected devices.
In short, you’re screwed. Make your play button larger on your website and write catchier songs.
Marketeers of Product
Herein is where, if any, your margin lies.
The Weeknd rebundled his free mixtapes into The Trilogy and sold it. How to Destroy Angels_’ new EP is vinyl-only or a $5 download, Amon Tobin sold out of a 4000 copy, limited edition 6×10″, 7xCD, 2xDVD boxset.
Point is – be creative.
Try and avoid CDs except for tour merch tables where they’re still the #1 thing new fans want. Don’t ever fucking sell me a “CD” and have it actually be a CD-R. People hate that shit, don’t disrespect your fans like that. If its a handmade, CD-R, specify so. Make a USB key album.
Think outside of the box because your download sales are gone.