Let’s Talk In 20 Years

Wow. Am I late this week, or what? I don’t really have an excuse other than I didn’t decide what I wanted to do until literally today, and then I decided I wanted to spend more time on it, and then I had to go to work. So unfortunately, I’m not going to write about an album this week because it’s one in the morning and I just can’t do an album justice this last minute. Instead, I’m going to do something else. Now, this something that I’m about to do kind of goes against my internet morals: I’m about to write an unseen reply to a specific celebrity regarding the music industry. Feel free to stop reading right here.

If you chose to continue, here is the original article: Taylor Swift’s Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal

Dear Miss Swift,

I’d like to start my letter by saying that I too am an optimist for the future of music. I’d also like to say that you, as a musician, probably are more informed than I ever will be/ever could be with my status: that of a fan.

However, I’d like to bring such a perspective to light: that of a fan.

In your written article, published in the Wall Street Journal, you mentioned the “value of an artist,” and your opinions on what is happening in the music industry regarding said value. I would like to say that I can see where you’re coming from with this opinion; I can’t.

When artists offer free music to their fans, it’s not just a promotional deal — at least not for us. You mentioned yourself the idea of artists and fans and the “relationship” they build. I fully agree with this. As a fan, I can list off countless musicians who have helped me personally through their music. Despite the fact that I have never met Dave Matthews, I can say (as a fan) that I feel as if I can relate to some of the feelings he has. It’s a connection, not just between the artist and the listener, but among followers of the same artist. Music is what brings people together. So to us (the fans), free music feels more than just a promotional deal; free music is a way that our artists — our friends — can reach out to us. To us (the fans), it feels like a “thank you,” and not just a money grab.

You see, I can’t agree that artists devalue or under appreciate themselves by releasing free music to the public. If anything, it’s a measure of their confidence. They certainly aren’t benefiting financially from releasing a free download or CD. But they have faith in themselves — in their music — to draw in an audience through their music. Music which might not have reached as many ears as it had with the pretty price of $1.29 attached to it.

I do, however, agree fully about the value of an album. We live in what I like to call the “singles” generation. The generation in which, instead of buying a full album and listening to it all the way through, buys radio single after single after single. This makes me sad (as a fan). An album is what showcases what the artist has to offer. You can’t simply judge an artist based on one radio single — there is so much more beyond that! But how does this tie in to the idea of free music?

Take The Neighbourhood, for example. Whether you love them or you hate them, you can’t deny what they’re doing is cool. They are the first band to release an entire, free mixtape (at least, that’s what they’re claiming; if you have evidence they aren’t the first, please inform me). And this is where it ties in with the idea of an album as a whole: I (as a fan) would be more likely to listen to the full mixtape if it’s free than just a single or two. My hope is that they’re starting something; something that will bring back the album instead of the single.

Signed: and optimist for the future of music.

So that’s this week’s post. If you read it, please leave a comment here, my Facebook, or twitter. I’d love to hear your opinions. I’ll say that I personally am not a fan of Taylor Swift, but no offense was meant to either her or any of her fans. I have the next three weeks lined up, so be prepared for more good music next week. And with that, I leave you. As always, keep listening.

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One thought on “Let’s Talk In 20 Years

  1. (sorry to be so lengthy, but…) I have a strong opinion on free music and why artists should embrace it and promote it. In this day and age, and into the future, streaming will overtake downloads as the main source of artist revenue (outside of appearances)- as it gets easier and easier to find and listen to music and not have to worry about storage.

    Artists that promote themselves on legit sites where fans can hear their music free in most locations (ReverbNation, NoiseTrade, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, Rdio, AirPlay Direct, Arena and others) will be the ones that benefit the most from the new music biz model of streaming. People don’t necessarily want or need to download tracks, they just want to hear the artist’s (new) music and be able to access it whenever they want to hear it!

    And, I think fans want the artist to get paid something each time they listen (even if it’s $.005. Pennies add up to $ and so do half pennies). Those who want to own tracks or albums they liked when they streamed it in full, will always find ways to do that- so I don’t see streaming as taking money away from download revenue.

    How many times do you think people have gone to artist’s sites and streamed tracks or samples the artist uploaded to their site? They get nothing for those listens. That’s stupid. IMHO, artists, should think like fans, but promote their music on their website using services and links to other services where fans can listen for free and they get paid for each listen! Over time, it’s a win win. It’s a little per person, but a little per person times a ton more people than would ever download, listening across all those sites where people can stream their tracks for free or subscription, is better than nothing. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

    Lastly, let me tip you to a little (but growing) site that is bringing back album listening and paying participating artists $.21/listen for 3 spotlight tracks that, fans can download free after 5 listens. The artists also get paid regular streaming rates for the other tracks and get paid full download rates for any downloads. And, if you buy the album through the site, you normally get it for less than $1/track. And, if you play the album 100 times, it’s yours free. It’s called Arena. https://arena.com/ Good luck with your blog, Maddie!

    Like

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