The Ever-Changing (I think it’s hyphenated)Music Industry
The 1980s began with the death of two musical icons: John Lennon and Bob Marley. This set the scene for a momentous decade. A lot of artists in the ’80s were inspired politically and that shined through their songs. For example, “19” by Paul Hardcastle and “99 Luftballoons” by Nena.
The ’80s was also the introduction to the CD and revolutionizing the way consumers listen to music, making it more portable. Now MTV has launched the first music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. With visual to accompany artists songs, they have another avenue to captivate consumers with. This led to extravagant production classics like “Thriller”.
A revolution was happening and technological advances have only just begun to shape the way consumers listen to and share music.With revolutionary music comes controversy, and with music artists now having another media to articulate their message, Madonna releases “Like a Virgin” in 1984. This sent a wave through the decade and the boundaries of what was socially acceptable were pushed to the limits. Some songs were even “banned” for sexual content despite their immense popularity.
The ’80s was also a break through in Hip-Hop with groups like Beastie Boys and Sugarhill Gang. This wider representation and growth in diversity in the commercial aspect of music also led to growth in consumers.The birth of Hip-Hop in the ’80s became a staple of music in the ’90s. Hip-Hop stepped away from the soul and funk themes from the ’80s to be dominated by the East Coast-West Coast Gangster Rap feud.
The extreme success of N.W.A. followed by releases from Dr. Dre and Tupac established the dominance power and influence of West Coast rap. East Coast Hip-Hop was led by De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest but was incompetent in their attempt to could never quite match the commercial success of the West Coast. That is until the release of albums from Nas, B.I.G., and Wu-Tang Clan.
This feud had everyone loyal listeners buying albums to hear the next low-blow and cultivated an intensely loyal consumer following. Sadly, speculation and business led to the death of Tupac and Biggie and with their death the end of a golden era in Hip-Hop. Again, music was changing and no one could predict the drastic change that was digital. Now at the start of the ’00s, iTunes is born and now anyone with a smart device or computer for pennies per song, instead of buying the whole album.
It is now evident that songwriters and artists have to focus wholeheartedly on making each and every song as great as the single. CDs were intensely profitable for artists and (especially) record labels, until the Internet, MP3s, piracy, Napster, iTunes, YouTube and Spotify kicked in over the past 10 years. Over the past couple of recent years, YouTube has grown into a lucrative machine for record labels.
Popular videos with millions of hits can be adorned with ads, and YouTube shares that revenue with the copyright holders. Some artists like OK Go have even decided to split from their label and end up making more money from YouTube than they do iTunes. We saw the industry adapt to the digital age of music. Spotify is not just streaming anymore, it is now an authoritative discovery platform, a network of popular radio stations, and also the primary way people are listening to music.
With the multitude of ways that people can listen to music for free today, now artists are concerning themselves with how to get on every platform and how many streams they can get. You can even put your song on a Snapchat filter now! (New paragraph) As a consumer, it’s great to be able to discover new artists and groups that I would have never found through CDs or word of mouth. However, as an artist I can understand the frustration in a market that is changing so fast and so quickly.
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