I was reading an article in Vice about ‘Why Spotify Data Being Included In The Charts Is S**t For Grime‘ – a well written piece from Sian Anderson which got me thinking… As far as the music industry is concerned, it’s well documented as to the collapse and decline in album sales. Whilst the major record labels (and indies alike) scratch their heads around the idea of streaming services, one element of the music industry remains the same. Since the birth of the record industry, as long as an artist has developed a captivating enough live show to generate continuous interest from an audience, people will continually support that artist.
According to a 2013 billboard article, “concerts make up 68.9% of revenue for the 40 artists on Billboard’s Money Makers list”, that figure is not surprising and whilst it may be difficult for a start-up band or artist to make a decent living just through shows, if you’re playing the long term game, it has historically been the safest option to produce tangible gains. Three years ago the streaming market wasn’t the industry it is today, seven years ago downloads weren’t what they are now and fifteen years ago everyone played their favourite album from a CD. Whilst the medium of how we listen to our favourite artist has changed, what has remained a relative constant is if you can generate enough demand people will always want to see you perform live. So in developing independent artists or artists who don’t necessarily fit into the “mainstream”, let’s first focus on what constants we can build on – live music!
In order to help break artist especially those of much niche genres like Grime (and Hip-Hop if you’re in the UK), we must nurture the live music scene. However everyone has to play their part: venues need to be flexible and accommodating of artists, promoters need to invest in developing their own unique brand, live music events need to really pick from the wealth of talent available and not be afraid to take a chance, and artists need to pull their own weight too and bring down their supporters.
Most importantly the supporters need to be given a great live experience and shouldn’t be afraid to say if they did or didn’t have a great night and feel free to suggest which local or emerging artists they might want to see. In this music industry, us artists really rely on personal relationships we build with our fans. If it’s done right, it means even if an artist isn’t propped up by a big media outlet or “tastemakers”, they can begin to gain ground and develop a following that’s their own and build a solid foundation from the ground up.
In today’s music industry from what I’ve experienced we tend to put the cart before the horse, with our primary focus on simply increasing our follower & view count with nothing to substantiate it. It’s all here today, gone tomorrow as we’ve placed our focus on flawed stats rather than long term sustainability in our “social media age”. The reason why live music is our best bet to build upon is that it’s the most tangible form of entertainment with each experience being unique, you can’t download the excitement and atmosphere of being at a great gig and not even a hologram or live stream can come close to that. Don’t forget! You can check out my show listings to see where I am next performing.