One thing I’ve noticed change and continues to change is how music is distributed from the musician to the world. When we first started the band, distribution was simple; toss CDs at everyone who came to your show. That was in 2008, and even though it wasn’t that long ago, the means of distribution have changed rapidly.
Think about how you receive your music. Is it from iTunes? Stream it off Spotify? Or is simply using YouTube? All of these are probably some of the top answers when it comes to how people do find music. The physical album has been put on the back burner as websites like SoundCloud and BandCamp have emerged, making the downloading era of music a part of our culture.
Now, taking all of that into perspective for a small DIY band and you have a double edged sword. I first think it helps out due to the many possible outlets you can spread your music through. The more websites your music is on, the more possibilities you have to gain more potential fans. What’s wrong with that? Well, here is the other edge. Unfortunately, streaming our album off of websites like Spotify gain us a revenue of maybe .50 cents a month. This doesn’t get a band back on the road or back into the studio. We need to continue selling physical albums as shows and online due to the fact that is where our primary revenue continues to be. Even iTunes doesn’t pan out for a small band. After Apple takes their share on your .99 cent download you are left with little to nothing. So it is clear we cannot make it on the digital world alone.
Looking into the future, I am very interested to see if CDs or any form of physical music will turn around and become more tangible. The main point I am trying to make is when it boils down to a band trying to survive in this competitive market, we need to hold onto those physical sales. There is an obvious generational split between people who still find these physical albums meaningful and the new generation who find music more… disposable. It will be an interesting next few years watching everything unfold before our eyes.