December 08, 2019 by David Stringer
There have been quite a few nostalgia driven articles over the last few months looking back at the 10’s and the many changes in the music industry we’ve encountered. People like to argue about what is better or worse, but that’s an old man’s game when it comes to music. Change and evolution is always driven by the youth. From The Beatles to Nirvana, and now on to Billie Eilish these are the artists who push the envelope forward.
But behind the scenes, that’s a different case. Artists get washed up into an ever changing spin cycle of “what’s hot now” marketing techniques…which really is some of the most interesting things that have changed in music. It’s the common question of how can artists survive now in the streaming age? But how did they survive before vinyl? Cassettes? Compact Disks? Going on tour from town to town is the age old way to support a career. That doesn’t seem to have changed. Having merchandise for sale at those shows, that hasn’t changed either. How music is promoted has changed a lot, but really just in the avenues that we find music. It’s not on the radio anymore, but it’s still at our fingertips through Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Music. It’s easier than ever to be a well informed music enthusiast. It’s the best time in history to grow up and learn to love anything. We’re in the information age where if you find one song you love by a new or old artists, you can easily track down who influenced them and everything about the scene they came out of.
Embrace the change is the real story here. Embrace technology in music, even if you’re scolded for it at the time. Just look at how much flack Bob Dylan caught for playing an electric guitar at Newport Folk Festival for that lesson. Have fun keeping up with the times. Whether it’s a new format (CDs, Cassettes), the resurgence of an old format (vinyl), digital downloads with iTunes (RIP), illegal streaming of the late 90’s early 2000’s (Napster), legal streaming of the 00’s (Purevolume, Myspace), and now we’ll look back at the 10’s as the era of Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Spotify.
So what does the next 10 years hold? Only time will tell, but the journey is the most fun part of the adventure. Don’t gripe about how things used to be better (they probably weren’t). Enjoy sharing your music with a worldwide audience with Youtube, Instagram and so forth. And if you’re trying to make a living playing music, it’s just as difficult as it’s ever been. If you’re great and catch some breaks, you’ll make it. If you can sustain that for an entire career, consider yourself one of the lucky ones and be grateful.