The Music Business in the Age of the Internet

There’s a very funny joke going around the internet at the moment, advising those who download music online illegally to watch a few episodes of MTV Cribs if they ever find themselves feeling a little guilty about downloading music online for free. The truth is no matter how hard traditional record labels and musicians try to keep their music from leaking online and becoming available for free download, somewhere, somehow if somebody really wants to download your music for free, they’ll find it.

Sometimes there isn’t even any guilt involved – there are people in this world who believe that music should be free in any case, so too other forms of what we otherwise protect as Intellectual Property. You simply cannot fight against an army of extremely good programmers who have decided that they’re going to spend their time and dedicate their lives to making sure any Intellectual Property that comes into existence becomes freely available.

I mean there are mirrored servers hosting copyrighted literature and the likes of college prescribed textbooks which otherwise cost hundreds of dollars bought in their physical format. As far as music goes, the MP3 format, for all its convenience, has made it way too easy for music to be shared publically online, never mind being confined to peer-to-peer networks.

With that the question arises of just how on earth one is supposed to survive in this day and age if they have a musical talent and the music they create is pretty much the only way through which they could feed themselves. The answer though has been staring everyone in the face for as long as the internet has been around and long before the MP3 format became universal.

It’s a case of knowing what one needs to do, but perhaps just seeking confirmation and some sort of validation.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very tough business in this day and age, particularly since it would appear as if talent is no longer a standard requirement for getting one’s music out there. As far as it goes with getting paid through your music though, it’s no longer about selling units.

The likes of iTunes still survive, but these music selling platforms won’t be around for very much longer, unless they adapt to the changing face of the music business.

If you want to make money out of your music or if you want to get into the music business in the age of the internet, it’s all about selling advertising opportunities around the music itself. The music is nothing but a buzz-generator, as good as it may be, but you won’t get paid directly for song purchases.

Rather, you would get paid on account of how many times a song of yours listed on an internet radio platform is played, for example. Internet streaming requires some kind of interface with which the consumers interact and it is on this interface where advertising can be delivered.

So you make the music and get paid by sponsors who want to associate their brands with the popularity of that music – simple as that.