When MP3s and peer-to-peer file sharing became the main vein for sourcing music, the CD industry went extinct, bringing on the sudden death of major labels like Geffen Records and EMI.
Throughout the 80s and the 90s, a series of vendettas against the industry were hashed out by iconic singer/songwriters such as Prince, Kurt Cobain, George Michael, and Michael Jackson – to name just a handful – symbolic to an ongoing struggle that pitted artist vs. major label as the not exactly struggling musicians wrestled down the invisible hand of facetious marketing ploys.
The bread and butter of platinum selling artists was soon transformed into a cannibalistic death match when CDs became old news overnight, and the titans of the music industry closed shop, thrusting the songwriter/performing artist into a more DIY, online world, while having to resort to alternate means of survival in a cut-throat, multi-billion industry. Live performances became any aspiring musician’s lifeblood, while creating hype on social media and “going viral” was the be all and end all of making it big. The stage had been re-designed, with less importance given to grooming overly made-up TV personalities and attending the MTV Music Awards.
While it took some re-orienting to a quickly transforming business arena, the sudden dismantlement of a “major labels” oligopoly was no crying shame for world famous recording artists. They had been effectively exorcised from the recurrent nightmare of settling disproportionate royalty pay-outs or warding off hidden contracts that would crawl out of the fine print, at the behest of the suits. This all too common scenario would normally ensue in long-winded court cases while the labels robbed the artist blindly of what they were rightfully owed as the creators of their craft.
Today, the combination of more affordable home studio-ware and social media, alongside Youtube and various other streaming services that have multiplied in droves while riding on improved technologies like faster internet speeds and Bluetooth connectivity, has turned the music industry inside out.
Record Labels have now become a thing of the past, instead giving the stage to more in-demand services like artist management, and more importantly, live performances.
And with live performances, it’s the audience that makes the show, and not the artist alone. Today, new services have come to form that address the new industry dynamics. One that sets an example is MyMusicTaste, a platform that gives the music listener the power to nominate which band is worthy of performing in their country, and vice versa. By gauging fan’s interests through “social missions”, MyMusicTaste becomes a two-way avenue for both drivers of the industry as it also helps the artist zone in on where to plan upcoming concerts, based on accurate demand forecasts.
MyMusicTaste communicates directly with event planners and artists alike, and since being launched in 2013 already has 80 concerts under its belt, and in 32 different cities. And although it’s based in Korea, 500,000 users are already signed in, 90 percent of whom are based outside of the country.
Well on its way to being launched after landing a $10 million Series A contract led by Softbank Ventures Korea, once the service is off the ground, more artists from the US, Japan and Thailand will be included, with its headquarters expected to be set up in China.
For a music industry that is worth $50 billion dollars, with $26 billion dollars (or half of its worth) sourced purely from the concert industry, the app answers to both players while picking up on new industry standards.
Making such high investment decisions entails working with concrete feedback, though, and MyMusicTaste is spot on. Apart from just voting, fans are asked to go on what is called “Social Missions” whereby actions speak louder than votes. If a fan responds by following through with the social missions, such as sharing video clips on social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, this will boost the artist in questions chances of being flown in based on the people’s response and willingness to promote the artists.
Once the statistics speak for themselves, and the concert goes through, MyMusicTaste profits through cuts on tickets sold for any concerts organized through its platform. Concerts of 200 to 300 people have expanded to a full house of 15,000 fans a pop.
MyMusicTaste serves as evidence that the main medium connecting the artist and the fan is no longer a flesh-eating record agency, and marketing methods have been re-invented in a dynamically changing business environment. Artists can reap what they sow fully.
Traditional marketing methods have been overridden in a day and age where the people’s voice echoes louder thanks to social media – to such a screaming extent that the people now get the final say.