Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The dark ages are over

The 50-year historical blip in which a tiny percentage of artists were able to get rich off of prerecorded music is blessedly over. With the plummeting cost of recording and mastering songs has come a great democratization in music creation, in which anyone, not just those backed by labels, can create great music.

Back in the day, the labels were the investors: recording good music was expensive and difficult, and getting it promoted required paying off the gatekeepers of terrestrial radio, and so labels ponied up the startup capital and therefore got the lion's share of the profits.

Today, the startup capital required is several orders of magnitude lower, and the promotion channels are infinite and free or nearly free to access. Yes, it's much less likely for an artist to get filthy stinking rich off recorded music today, but you know what? I'm okay with that. We have an embarrassment of riches in terms of great new music today, being created by tons of people who are now free to act on their creativity because recording and distributing music is basically free today.

Labels are dinosaurs. Paul Stanley is a dinosaur. File sharing was the extinction-level event. The dust just hasn't completely cleared yet. Mark my words: we have entered a new golden age for music, something that will be obvious only in retrospect.

(Copied from my replies to a post by Matt Vicente on FB.)