Following a conversation at work, a discussion was had with regards to all things media and digital.
Being involved in the print industry, music and photography, I would say that these are the main areas where the internet has cheapened and even, to a certain extent, made them value-less.
If you want a photo of a Lakeland fell – “just Google it”, what about a photo of the latest 2017 model dirt bike? – just Google it.
I`m not saying Google is the root of this, but Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, websites in general, You tube, Picasa, Instagram (although less so due to the size which the photos are loaded up at), Spotify, Apple Music, Sound Hound, Tune In Radio etc etc. The list goes on.
And whilst I can almost hear people coming back at me saying “well don`t load things on those pages” or “Don`t sign up for them if you don`t like them” the problem as I see it is that these are the mass appeal, have the majority of the audience, and also, when you read the small print, effectively take copyright of your content too.
A musician writes a new song, goes into a studio and records the new track, tells people about it on Social Media and then performs it at live shows.
People then ask about the track, but won`t pay for an album as this is the mentality we have now (right or wrong) and want to download or stream only the one track- so you could argue the demand is there.
The only places where you can stream or download only one track are the usual main, conglomerate outlets – and these only pay the musician a fraction of the cost of an album.
The independent musicians, who haven`t been signed by a major label (and that in itself has its own problems too, but that`s another story) are touring throughout the year, performing in front of audiences from 20 people upto 500+.
It will take them a long time to sell anything like 2,000 CDs – so I hope you`re getting my point here – 1 album sale, yes, just 1 album sale as in a physical album, not a download or stream from the same sites aforementioned, is worth the same as around 000`s of downloads.
I understand it`s cheaper to buy online, more convenient to listen to, less hassle than going out to a gig, more instant etc – BUT….. if this carries on to be the trend over the next 10 years or so, a lot of musicians will have to come off the roador only gig part time as the cost of touring increases and the revenue from doing so decreases – less people at the gigs (because it`s easier to stay at home and listen to the tracks), less album sales, smaller gig fees, increased fuel, hotel, food and transport costs.
This will only leave mass produced, major label, marketed, drip feed music which, whilst a lot of people like this kind of music – it`s more produced than organic, more manufactured than original, more formulaic rather than individual and all in all – a bit samey!!
The best way to buy music, is buy a CD from the artists` own website, get it delivered, listen to it, read the lyrics, look at the artwork – these artists have spent time and money getting the right images and words to illustrate and promote their hard crafted songs to you – and then download it onto your computer / music player etc.
This way, it`s a cyclical thing, they can then create another album!!!
Do you think it`s purely coincidence or greed which has brought around Crowdfunding? – NO!! – it`s because musicians are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.
So, photos, music, videos, films, editorial, features etc – all online, ALL FREE.
GREAT, I hear you cry….NO!! - not great – at least not for the future of everything!
If you don`t pay for it, you certainly don`t get professionals creating it – whether that be music, photography, editorial, news – FACTS etc.
And we wonder how there is so much mis-information out there, we wonder why the wedding photos weren`t as good as the next person`s, why newspapers and magazine sales are dropping etc. why false claims are made all the time and people get away with it.
Look out for the quality – it`s out there, you may not agree with it, like it, have the money to pay for it but quality is exactly that.
People have been to University, studied, qualified, gained experience, toured, written, performed, cut their teeth, earned their stripes, paid their dues, call it what you will – these are the people we need to be paying attention to.
Yes, there is mediocrity out there too, but we all like different things. search out for what you like.
some will love Ikea, second hand furniture shops and some will like artisan, hand crafted, walnut furniture. Some will like Aunty Flo`s snaps whilst some will prefer Ansell Adams, David Bailey, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andres Serrano etc.
Some will like their mates’ opinions, who have been to one event in their life, rather than an experienced, well toured, knowledgeable writer.
You get what you pay for (or not) in this world and whilst it`s great to get something for nothing, it wont be long before we all get nothing for something.
THINK ABOUT IT!!