There is no question that the presence, growth, and enduring popularity of the internet has changed the face of the music industry forever. The question that everyone is asking, and hotly debating, however, is whether it has changed it for the better or for worse.
We looked at a number of changes that the internet has brought to the industry, and aimed to come up with a definitive answer in conclusion.
File Sharing is not the problem it once was now that services such as Napster have become paid services, and the streaming industry has in general become heavily regulated.
In terms of lost payments and royalties, it will be impossible to ever put a true price on the impact that illegal downloading and file sharing had throughout the 1990s and 2000s. However, what early file sharing ‘services’ did perhaps do was shape the way in which we now access music online today, which it is generally agreed is nothing but a good thing
While Justin Bieber was famously discovered via YouTube, it would be unfair to say that the site is only responsible for discovering people that polarize opinion around the world.
Regardless of what you think of the people who have used YouTube as a platform for global success, it is obvious the impact the site has had in terms of providing an arena for aspiring musicians to put their product ‘out there’ for people to judge.
The wider influence of social media in general has also helped musicians to get their voice heard and in many cases be given an opportunity to become a global superstar.
While learning to play a musical instrument in the traditional manner is still hugely popular, the internet has allowed a generation of self-taught musicians to emerge and become competent at playing their favorite instruments. The range of resources available online is immense, and it is so easy to take advantage of them.
Say you are looking to learn the guitar. There are forums where you can discuss what you are doing and look for advice, websites featuring video tutorials from famous musicians that can help you to learn some great riffs, and many more information guides and pointers that will help you to develop your skills whether you are a beginner or advanced player.
Expand this across all instruments, and you have a huge opportunity for finding and using resources online.
In the past, if you wanted to put a band together, you either needed to be friends with people who played instruments, or put an advert in your local newspaper or music magazine. Now, thanks to many of the resources we have discussed already, such as social media, it couldn’t be easier to do it. What’s more, you can ask people to send videos of themselves playing an instrument or singing rather than see everyone physically, giving you a much greater chance of finding the final piece in your jigsaw.
The internet has brought some negatives to the music world, especially in terms of leaked news and the reduced number of surprises we enjoy. However, there is no question that, overall, the internet has been a good thing for the music industry.
WORDS: Karl is an online content writer with a specific interest in music industry trends. Karl is also an accomplished guitar player, despite never having a guitar lesson in his life, and plays a number of other instruments for fun.