“Social Media Tools” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by jrhode
For a long time, making music has stuck to certain steps. Form a band, through whatever means you can, create songs and play them at small gigs. Eventually, you might have the chance to record music and hope that your popularity eventually enables you to sign to a label. While there have always been additional means in which enterprising musical entrepreneurs have put themselves ahead, our modern digital landscape has far more options on offer than ever before. Far from regular, these often incorporate the newest developments in online technology and social media, and the way that they work is often surprising.
The Social Spread
When social media first came around, it occupied a bit of a niche online. That was a long time ago, however, and now it has a firm place as a major component of many of our lives, especially for the young and those for whom network building is important. Musicians often fall into the prior of these groups, and they almost always become part of the latter.
Building awareness and a brand on social media are incredibly important to any savvy business or group. History has shown that all it takes for someone to become popular is a single viral message, tweet, image, or music video to rise from the depths of obscurity to the headlines of the mainstream. Of course, maintaining a successful course is another matter entirely but the importance of using this as a form of breakthrough remains. Today, bands rely on both being engaged themselves and on fans helping spread the word in order to set themselves apart from the pack, a method which the musicians of old could never manage.
The Cutting Cost
Film and audio recording equipment have never been cheap but the cost and feasibility of entry-level equipment are lower than ever before. This is true on every level, giving modern amateurs and newcomers better access and visibility than any of their predecessors. Audio recording devices are cheaper, instruments are cheaper, cameras are cheaper, and video editing technology is more affordable and user-friendly than at any point in history.
” Microphone” (CC BY 2.0) by evanforester
For the average musician, this means that the prior reliance on live performances in order to get the word out has effectively gone the way of the dinosaur. Now, musicians can quickly and easily spread their creations with the world, so finding a fanbase and building a connection has never been as simple a task.
The Changing Tech, the Changing World
While we have already touched on a few of the developments that have allowed better technology to help musicians, there are still some out there so ingenious that we can’t help but find ourselves in awe. Of the most basic but still clever in terms of building brand awareness is the ability of new musicians to rely on a whole host of supporting media and goods in order to reach a wider audience.
“SoundCloud from Command Line” (CC BY 2.0) by xmodulo
One of these tactics is to sell their music to online businesses who aim to use this music in some sort of simple capacity. These are often smaller in reach but can do a great deal for building what is effectively a musical resume and can accomplish a great deal more if they fall in the right ears. Listing music on websites like SoundCloud can help build awareness and, in that, help build a fanbase. Likewise, selling music on Bandcamp allows users to directly market to the public, cutting out the middlemen and helping get a foot in the door. Some bands even manage to diversify by associating their work with other projects. This is commonly seen in methods such as adding music to media like YouTube videos as a backing track or for online games, which themselves use both modern popular and undiscovered music as a way to appeal to users. Cooperation on this level is only possible through the improved communication of the modern age and has even helped some older bands reach newer listeners.
Other developments are even further ahead of the curve, as can be seen with inventions like modern blockchain smart speakers. Clever programmers and adopters of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have enabled devices like this to take currency from an account and deliver it to the creators when clapping is heard, in a new technological bend that only a few could possibly have seen coming. As technology like this becomes better adopted, we have to wonder the degree to which popularization could be automated, further streamlining the experience for newer musicians.
The Future is Bright – and Probably Weird
The biggest technological and musical leaps come from minds that few of us could predict or ever hope to emulate. Because of this, there is no way in which we can accurately predict the exact path that online music will take, and its path in helping unknown musicians reach the big-time. What we do know is that the bridging of tech and music is only going to grow stronger, easier, and more common. We can expect the elements we have touched on in this article to grow but the exact level is unknown. What do you see as important and where do you think we could be going in the future?