User:Pwnage8/Evolution of Music Management
Music has historically changed as society develops. Traditionally, due to the lack of storage devices as well as recording systems, songs were passed down from one generation to the other by memorizing. When writing systems became widely known, songs were written down along with the musical notation associated with them. It helped to preserve the work in the way that human memory cannot. Later, as technology improved, songs and music were recorded in storage devices such as black disks, cassettes, and CDs. The music industry developed mainly as a result of such inventions, and has evolved following the improvements in storage technology. The latest influence on the music industry is the rise of the Internet, as well as digital music.
Evolution of the Music Industry
Reebee Garafalo states, “Like any other culture industry in a market economy, the role of the music business is fundamentally to transfer its cultural products into financial rewards.” The United States is an economic powerhouse, and as a result is one center of music. It serves as a model for the relationship between popular music and that industry which produces it. He categorizes the music industry into three phases in history. Music publishing is the first, starting out centuries ago with sheet music, and lasting until the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The second phase is the emergence of record companies, and the third phase, the emergence of transitional entertainment corporations. During each of these phases, the growth of technology and the political on-goings outside of the music world helped to contribute to the growth of the music industry.
The early twentieth century marked the beginning of record companies. Largely influenced by the politics and economy of the United States, radio, not originally used for music, became a huge asset to the music industry. During the Great Depression, families would give up furniture and homes yet keep their radio for their sanity. The president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the first “radio president”, using the radio to acquire a national following. The aftermath of World War II saw an opportunity to capitalize on the changes that were happening worldwide. Americans were able to enhance and ultimately make better technologies while Europe was busy rebuilding. The radio became a staple of the American home, so once music started playing on the airwaves, it opened up new doors for artists and skyrocketed the music industry into the height of the record phase.
The importance of the radio for the music industry became clear when rock and roll became popular in the United States. Record sales almost tripled, going from $213 million and 15.7% of the market share in 1954 to $603 million and 42.7% in 1959.! Rock and roll became more politicized in the 1960s with the hippies and baby boomers growing up and being able to identify with the music. “From the start", said Michael Lydon in 1970, "rock has been commercial in its very essence... [I]t was never an art form that just happened to make money, nor a commercial undertaking that sometimes became art. Its art was synonymous with its business.” It was a huge period of expansion and it was becoming more and more apparent that the key to success was in manufacturing and distributing. MTV was launched in 1981, giving people immediate exposure, which contributed to the continued success of the music industry. The record companies continued to grow, and because of these companies- dominated by the “big five” (EMI, Sony, Universal-Vivendi, Time Warner and Bertelsmann), artists could not individually produce their music and the record companies were making 85-90% of the profit.
As the record companies are beginning to play a smaller role, the music industry has grown a lot through copyrights and managing. Technology has once again advanced, which has made records, casettes, and CDs nearly obsolete. This has hurt the record labels. New websites such as MySpace and YouTube allow for easy access to many more artists. Now anybody can post videos on the Internet, advertising themselves and getting exposure for themselves. Programs such as Napster and Limewire now permit consumers to get music for free, completely cutting out the record labels. “The intersection of the Internet with the social practice of creating and receiving music is vastly complex, a topic that scholars have recently begun to address”. “The global piracy industry is now estimated to be worth about $4.8 billion, with about 4.5 million counterfeit CDs sold each year in the UK alone. (Reece, 2004)”
Effects of the Music Industry Evolution
Music has brought people together for centuries. It has been the backbone of so many different cultures, and has always been a way for people to put their differences aside and connect with one another. Maybe Cecilia L. Ridgeway said it best, when she noted that, “Music, as one of society’s expressive systems, plays a substantive role in maintaining social structure." Music has affected the way people live since the beginning of time. Music still affects us in a major way today. The problem is that the multi-billion dollar music industry that currently rules American society has become so driven towards money that they have moved away from the creativity that made it strong in the first place. The commercialization of music has caused it to become too business-oriented, and many artists have suffered. Musicians that star in movies, put their music in commercials, and sell out to major producers do well because they play the game. In the meantime, the creative musicians who have great music, but lack the billion dollar resources, often get left in the dark.
First of all, it is imperative that the issues at hand are discussed. Music has become so commercialized in an industry where money is king. Not all of it is negative but a lot of it is. The positives are that a lot more music can be released and exposed to a wider variety of people. Because of this, many musicians can get their name out easier, an obvious plus for them. Also, the great exposure and technology causes managers and producers to become even richer than ever. Not everyone is happy, though. There are many issues with the way music has transpired throughout the history of our society. It has become so vast and such a big business but yet it has become so watered down at the same time. The innovation and creativity does not exist like it used to. Everyone is trying to create what will sell and it is making everything sound the same. Innovation has always been such an important part of music, as Ivan Orosa Paleo says, “Different interpretations of innovation lead to different approaches and different methods of producing an output [of music], and that is what makes different music stand out .” Innovation, creativity, and originality is what made artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix so great. With the competition in today’s society to “make it or break it,” music isn’t as original and creative as it used to be.
The main reason that music has become so much more structured and less creative is because the money demands it. Like Michael Jones said, “Creative work is the driving force of a new economy, and the popular music industry is central to creative work .” He also discusses how the music industry focuses too much on “the move from conception to consumption,” and that the middle area is left out. In other words management and artists are not working well together to create the most effective and innovative product. Instead they are creating what they think will become most popular (conception) and reeling in as much money as possible (consumption). There is no originality and solid work between these two extremes . Therefore music has suffered as a whole. Another way that money has driven musicians to sell out is by putting their music in commercials and movies. Some artists will create a song just for a movie or commercial and it is purely for profit. Its like Donna DeMarco says, “Watching TV commercials these days is like flipping around the radio dial. Pop songs from every era are filling up the commercial breaks .” She talks about how many musicians have gone to commercials and T.V. as their main source of income now. Some artists are selling out in a way, because they are creating music solely for the money . That is the main issue with the music industry today. It revolves around money, and so much of the creativity and spirit behind music that has made it so great has been lost.
Finally, with all these issues out on the table, it is necessary to discuss how to solve these problems. What are the key factors to help create a more innovative, original, and artistic music industry? How can the industry get away from the same style of hip-hop, pop, and country songs being repeated over and over again? There are a few different solutions. The main way would obviously be with the artists. They have to be individualistic and original, with the goal of creating a music that not only sound good, but is creative and will last forever. They have to go away from creating music solely for money because that is how we get the same music over and over again. Bradford L. Yates offers up a discussion that the solution lies within the radio and mass media. He says how the mass media has to move away from the biases they are setting about music and the music industry, and they have to promote the music of this era like they did in the 60’s and 70’s. Also he talks about the radio’s role in that they need to play a wider variety of music and they have to bring this different perspective of music to a wider variety of people . Another solution to the problem would be to consider what Bridgette Anderson offers up. “By linking artists and managers together and integrating the very real effect of cooperation and conflict throughout the economic system [of the music industry] the industry will be better off .” In other words it is imperative that artists and their managers work together on the same page to create a music that is unique and that will be timeless.
The music industry is so watered down and it is mainly due to the growing hunger for money. Music just isn’t what it used to be in this country. If certain things change, though, there is a chance it won’t revolve around money as much. Then these issues of lack of creativity and music piracy by consumers won’t be problems anymore because music will be pure. People will go to see concerts and they will buy records because it will be classic. Music won’t divide people anymore, but rather bring them together, as it has since the beginning of time.
The Future of the U.S Music Industry
There are both benefits and drawbacks to artists creating and sharing their music. By reducing the power of the recording industry, the flow of money in the music industry has changed as drastically as the medium through which the music is shared. While new technology has helped the artists in many ways, it has also provided them with new challenges.
It is questionable whether the new technologies are helping or hurting the artists. In fact, there is a mixed review from artists as well. The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC), want to make it legal to share music via peer-to-peer networks for a small fee of only $5 which will go directly back to the artists . These artists believe that this way they are able to benefit directly from the peer-to-peer networks instead of being harmed by them.
Peer-to peer networks are a way for people to exchange music by downloading songs from each other via a wireless network. These networks allow you to simultaneously share and receive files. Regular networks allow you to connect with only one computer at a time, whereas the peer-to-peer networks allow all computers on the network to be interconnected. This becomes a problem because you can download from multiple sources at once, and allow everyone access to your music simultaneously. This increases the rate of illegal downloads exponentially.
The unfortunate downside to charging people for a service like Napster and Rhapsody is that most people choose to use other ways of getting the music without buying the songs. In fact according to the SAC, 85% of bandwidth available is used for piracy of music and other media . However, many agents that help facilitate piracy are now being sued for millions. The result of the lawsuits is often that the agent goes under or goes legitimate by charging the users for artist royalty fees. Soon artists are hoping all of the networks will be charging for music downloaded. Otherwise, the artists will be losing money on the customers they would have had if the peer-to-peer networks were not in existence.
In fact, at any given time there are 9 million people on peer-to-peer networks . The grand majority of these networks are illegal. How can the artists expect to make any money if everyone chooses to illegally download? Clearly, something must be done to protect the artist’s royalties.
If there were so many problems with peer-to-peer downloading networks, then why would artists ever be in favor of their existence? There are several reasons. The first is that even if the music is bringing in less music, a higher percentage of the money coming in is going to the artists instead of the middle man (record companies).
Also, free downloading can increase the number of people who hear the music. The Internet cuts out the middle man very effectively, and can even help promote a new group or artist better than a recording company can. In fact, MySpace has become a hotspot for new artists to post their music. Bands and artists can post their music and gain popularity while spreading their music worldwide fast . Artists who have contracts with record companies rarely see a high percentage of the money coming in from record sales. Instead the money they are making is coming mostly from the concert ticket sales. So, many artists have little to lose by getting their name out by providing people with free access to their music, because concerts cannot be replicated.
While there are benefits and drawbacks to peer-to-peer file sharing, the future of the music industry is up to the people and the changes in technology. It is clear that something must be done to stop people from pirating this music, however for now people must start acting honestly. However, keep checking out new artists through these mediums. It provides these new artists with the exposure they need to make it big in the music industry without a middle man.
As we can see, the forms of music are changing reflecting the changes in technology, economy, politics and other factors that make up our society. The music industry has come into existence mostly due to its potential to make profits, as music is an important part of everyday’s life. Additionally, the music industry was able to develop very quickly because of technology and economy progress, as well as consumers’ supports. With organizations managing music, however, artists’ creativity could be questioned since most of their works have become profit-driven. Alternatively, good music never reaches consumers because the music companies think that it wouldn’t sell well. With the Internet become widely available now, artists can by-pass the music companies and show their work to the public directly. Although it seems that more creative pieces of music could be produced, more time should be given to observe if it is better to not have the music industry managing music in the way it now is.
Even though the article focused on the U.S. music industry, it is important that we understand that these affect not only the U.S. residents, but also the world due to globalization. Many countries have gone through such development in their music industries, which were also influenced by radio and storage devices. In many foreign countries, the music markets are also influenced by the big music companies, and had affected the creativity and innovation of the artists. However, we now see a comeback of these artists by sharing their work on the Internet, bypassing the middle men. The result of being independent of the music companies is questionable, but consumers seem to not mind it at all.
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