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PopStarWannabe

Is music (as a sellable product) still worth making considering current situation?

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According to the current situation and given the predictions about the evolution of the pandemic and possible aftermath (like distancing and mask wearing for years to come - hence no shows, no gigs), can anyone picture how music could be monetized at present and in the coming years?

Is it still worth investing time and money if one wants to make it a sellable product (I'm not talking about making it out of passion - which only lasts for a couple of songs anyway, until one becomes entagled in life's storm and has to have an occupation, then a family, etc). I'm talking about music as a 'profession', a job, a full time occupation.

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Ask our good friend Notes Norton.

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8 minutes ago, Bapu said:

Ask our good friend Notes Norton.

But whatever you do, don't ask craigb..........😀

 

As for the question.......Has it ever really been a viable option for most "wannabes" ? Social distancing doesn't help, but it's not the reason why most won't ever make a decent living from just making music. 

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5 minutes ago, paulo said:

But whatever you do, don't ask craigb..........😀

 

Exactly!  So far I've probably "made" close to $-200k thanks to music.  $140k minimum spent on my music studio (mostly lost now) and, at least, $50k buying music!

That said, I have no regrets (just repressed rage towards the financial institutions that illegally stole my money and assets!). 😉

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whatever you do, don't ask Bapu who to ask

Edited by Sheens

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You all realize that the only one that could really answer that question is Pistol Pete 

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1 hour ago, paulo said:

Has it ever really been a viable option for most "wannabes" ?

Ha ha! It's just a user name that I found funny... You'd be astounded by my past achievements, which actually are in contrast to the nickname... But that's not important here. 

I was just trying to open a subject very actual and important to musicians, producers, etc  and learn opinions. 

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34 minutes ago, bayoubill said:

What ever you do don’t ask Strammy about Pistol Pete

 

Bill, I sure do lurves you old pal 😊

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19 minutes ago, PopStarWannabe said:

You'd be astounded by my past achievements,

Probably not.

Whatever you want to call those who aspire to be pro, it's never really been that viable an option for most of them anyway.

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Twitch or similar avenues seems to be the way to go. It astounds me how much people will donate. Some of the ones I follow have thousands of subscribers. If they are all Tier 1 ($4.99) and they have 5000 that's $12.5K a month after Twitch takes their cut. Plus all the Bit donations. Streamers get 100% of those. 100 bits is $1 dollar. Plus patreon. Plus paypal. Amazon wish list.

Some of the big gamers have 10s of thousands of subs.

Seems to me live streaming is the way to go. Youtube is done. They have gone corporate.

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1 hour ago, bdickens said:

The easiest way to make a million dollars as a musician is to start with two million.

Heh, I traded Commodities back in the 90's and the quote there was similar:  "Want to make a small fortune in the Commodities market?  Start with a large fortune!" 😁

Of course, back in the day, many top-name musicians and bands made very little compared to the marketers.  The Who didn't even make a profit until after Tommy came out!  (But that might be due to all the equipment Townshend destroyed on stage! LOL.)

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If you want to make money out of the music industry, don't be the one who's actually making the music.

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13 hours ago, PopStarWannabe said:

According to the current situation and given the predictions about the evolution of the pandemic and possible aftermath (like distancing and mask wearing for years to come - hence no shows, no gigs), can anyone picture how music could be monetized at present and in the coming years?

Is it still worth investing time and money if one wants to make it a sellable product (I'm not talking about making it out of passion - which only lasts for a couple of songs anyway, until one becomes entagled in life's storm and has to have an occupation, then a family, etc). I'm talking about music as a 'profession', a job, a full time occupation.

@PopStarWannabe

PLEASE read this as pragmatic and from lived experience. Not doom gloom, just trying to say it as it is from my years ion the biz

Back in the 80s, maybe until late 80s was when you could have a stab at making music ( as an artist, in the band scene ) as a profession. Up to then THERE WAS A PROPER SCENE in most places. Even as young wannabes there was a healthy local live circuit ( in Ireland and I imagine UK also ) where a band could do the local and national circuit on tour to pubs and the like and actually HAVE A COVER CHARGE at the door ( unbelievable :D ), build a following and actually get on radio stations for interviews and plays etc. Back then it was all about original bands, if you played a cover you were blanked. Fans of the local bands followed them from venue to venue and knew there bands songs, a huge hunger for new originals which bands created in the practice rooms during the week and played at there next gig. Demo tapes and the like were the thing. It started to end about then.

Along came the 90s with its stock aiken and waterman type manufactured bands being commercially pushed to No 1 slot at Christmas and all that. the serious commercial engineering started. Locally bands started switching to covers and pubs started having acts in on a thur fri etc FOR FREE, no cover charge. This of course started the devaluing of Music as a product. Right up to late 90s i was involved in ORIGINALS BANDS but to survive they morphed to cover bands and for the next 10 years I stayed in that game and regret it .. it wrecked my love of music further wrecked by morphing into Wedding band to MAKE A LIVING.

And then the birth of the INTERNET as we know it happened in the 90s BUT the big event for the demise of music as an earner came in 1999/2000 when NAPSTER happened. This further drove a nail into musics coffin further devaluing it because now you could download it all FOR FREE also. 

Onward we go through 2000s and napster died per say but then the whole online thing became commercialised via SPOTIFY ( founded 2006 ) and the like with little return to artists. This was the beginning of MORE touring needed to make a crust. Then Itunes and then of course the IPHONE where you could devour your music for free or for very little while on the go. Also we had/have YOUTUBE .. FREE FREE FREE why would you even be spending 10 bucks a month on spotify for, its all on Youtube for nothing.

In parallel since the 80s another thing started to happen, the days where you bought an album with 10+ tracks on it and listened to it over time when the whole album grew on you .. that started to disappear, this was also the beginning of peoples attention span getting shorter and shorter right up to now where its absolutely about the SINGLE and even if you have your FREE music platforms all thats listened to for a short time is that one track from an artist. So ALBUMS as a money maker with all the ancilliary sleeves/jackets and inlays disappeared too.

So its 2020 .. free music everywhere, why should we pay for it ( esp younger generation, they know no better ), the "charts" commercialised to the nth degree. Record contracts and nurturing bands GONE. Yes, we have the internet with its alleged democratisation where all bands/artists can be free OF THE MAN and setup indie labels and sell there own music. To WHO .. that younger gen who now see no value what so ever in music .. its all free now.

As an aside to that when we were doing covers as a band up to 2010, yes we made a living ( soul destroying for a musician who was born out of original scene ) .. i was noticing a thing. Back in the day if a band was playing at a venue I remember being at pub gigs, concerts and many people who PAID to get in to see the local band standing in front of the band and watching on in awe at the musicians and meeting up after with the guitar player etc. A healthy interest.

Fast forward to 2010, WE were/are very good musicians, born out of years of live live live playing .. I remember being in a very busy pub doing our covers thing, hits of the day .. Killers and all that .. I was watching the people coming in the door as we played, 90% looking down at mobile, NONE looking up and even noticing a band was playing, no music fans standing in front of us soaking up the playing, the technique and so on. It was not an age thing .. us and them .. the broader point is there is no interest anymore really of being a guitarist etc. Was reading an article recently about this, guitar sales and other instrument sales in last decade have plummeted .. likes of YES Gibson ( smilie :D for here at CW ) in trouble. Reason why by the way .. back to my point about short attention span, learning an instrument is just too difficult and takes too long, so why bother.

So to the core point of the OP .. NO its not the pandemic that has caused where MUSIC finds itself, this has been coming slowly but surely for decades as outlined above. All the pandemic has done is accelerated further its demise by now getting rid of even that living one might make as a  COVERS Music / Wedding band.  the structures like labels etc and a healthy originals scene and a public that VALUED music are now gone, how one might see a return of this, I have no clue.

Best you can do now ( as I am doing ) is in my case back to originals, and just recording and making new music, instrumental + also collaborating online with Singers and other musos I know and just getting back that feeling of creating. Sticking it up on likes of Bandcamp .. if it sells it sells if it doesnt sell, who cares. It aint a living but thats about it ( my living is IT and websites .. wolf from the door, just about )    

 

 

Edited by aidan o driscoll

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6 minutes ago, aidan o driscoll said:

Back in the 80s, maybe until late 80s was when you could have a stab at making music ( in the band scene ) as a profession. Even as young wannabes there was a healthy local live circuit ( in Ireland and I imagine UK also ) where a band could do the local and national circuit on tour to pubs and the like and actually HAVE A COVER CHARGE at the door ( unbelievable :D ), build a following and actually get on radio stations for interviews and plays etc. Back then it was all about original bands, if you played a cover you were blanked. Fans of the local bands followed them from venue to venue and knew there bands songs. Demo tapes and the like were the thing. It started to end about then.

Along came the 90s with its stock aiken and waterman type manufactured bands being commercially pushed to No 1 slot at Christmas and all that. the serious engineering started. Locally bands started switching to covers and pubs started having acts in on a thur fri etc FOR FREE, no cover charge. This of course started the devaluing of Music as a product. Right uop to late 90s i was involved in ORIGINALS BANDS but to survive they morphed to cover bands and for the next 10 years I stayed in that game and regret it .. it wrecked my love of music further wrecked by morphing into Wedding band.

And then the birth of the INTERNET as we know it happened in the 90s BUT the big event for the demise of music as an earner came in 1999/200 when NAPSTER happened. This further drove a nail into musics coffin further devaluing it because now you could download it all FOR FREE also. 

Onward we go through 2000s and napster died per say but then the whole online thing became commercialised via SPOTIFY ( founded 2006 ) and the like .. Itunes and then of course the IPHONE where you could devour your music for free or for very little. Also we had/have YOUTUBE .. FREE FREE FREE why would you even be spending 10 bucks a month on spotify for, its all on Youtube for nothing.

In parallel since the 80s another thing started to happen, the days where you bought an album with 10+ tracks on it and listened to it over time when the whole album grew on you .. that started to disappear, this was also the beginning of peoples attention span getting shorter and shorter right up to now where its absolutely about the SINGLE and even if you have your FREE music platforms all thats listened to for a short time is that one track from an artist. So ALBUMS as a money maker with all the ancilliary sleeves/jackets and inlays disappeared too.

So its 2020 .. free music everywhere, why should we pay for it ( esp younger generation, they know no better ), the "charts" commercialised to the nth degree. Record contracts and nurturing bands GONE. Yes, we have the internet with its alleged democratisation where all bands/artists can be free OF THE MAN and setup indie labels and sell there own music. To WHO .. that younger gen who now see no value what so ever in music .. its all free now.

As an aside to that when we were doing covers as a band up to 2010, yes we made a living ( soul destroying for a musician who was born out of original scene ) .. i was noticing a thing. Back in the day if a band was playing at a venue I remember being at pub gigs, concerts and many people who PAID to get in to see the local band standing in front of the band and watching on in awe at the musicians and meeting up after with the guitar player etc. A healthy interest.

Fast forward to 2010, WE were/are very good musicians, born out of years of live live live playing .. I remember being in a very busy pub doing our covers thing, hits of the day .. Killers and all that .. I was watching the people coming in the door as we played, 90% looking down at mobile, NONE looking up and even noticing a band was playing, no music fans standing in front of us soaking up the playing, the technique and so on. It was not an age thing .. us and them .. the broader point is there is no interest anymore really of being a guitarist etc. Was reading an article recently about this, guitar sales and other instrument sales in last decade have plummeted .. likes of YES Gibson ( smilie :D for here at CW ) in trouble. Reason why by the way .. back to my point about short attention span, learning an instrument is just too difficult and takes too long, so why bother.

So to the core point of the OP .. NO its not the pandemic that has caused where MUSIC finds itself, this has been coming slowly but surely for decades as outlined above. All the pandemic has done is accelerated further its demise by now getting rid of even that living one might make as a  COVERS Music / Wedding band.  the structures like labels etc and a healthy originals scene and a public that VALUED music are now gone, how one might see a return of this, I have no clue.

Best you can do now ( as I am doing ) is in my case back to originals, and just recording and making new music, instrumental + also collaborating online with Singers and other musos I know and just getting back that feeling of creating. Sticking it up on likes of Bandcamp .. if it sells it sells if it doesnt sell, who cares. It aint a living but thats about it ( my living is IT and websites .. wolf from the door, just about )     

The thing that killed the live thing for the pub band scene where I lived was the change in the alcohol licensing laws that for whatever reason restricted live entertainment in pubs to duos/maybe a trio at best. The four/five man band was no longer welcome. Inevitably this mostly resulted in a singer and someone with a keyboard essentially doing karaoke being the only thing on offer. One band trimmed down to a three specifically for this reason with the bass player taking over vocals. Let's just say that there was probably a good reason why he took up playing bass.

Prior to this, despite being something of a rural backwater there was a very lively local scene, born mostly out of boredom really, but enough happening to mean that every week there would be 2/3 bands to see somewhere within walking distance. In honesty, some were not up to much, but the general feeling was that we'd rather watch someone at least having a go than a sterile rendition of a "classic" from the keyboard duo. Some were so bad that they were almost good and who couldn't enjoy seeing the quiet little guy who by day worked the counter at the post office transformed into a shirtless frenzy as he banged a tin tray on his head in time to a Ramones style cover of The Wild Rover ? A few of us found a way around the new rules when someone discovered a clause in the licensing laws that allowed a bar to be set up and operated in village halls as long as the event was in aid of charity, so we started with our own version of Live aid. The local pub was happy to provide the bar facility (why wouldn't they be? ) and the charity angle was covered by donating the money raised by the nominal door charge. Not a fantastic amount by any means, a few hundred, but it was never really about charity. Other events followed, but eventually, a local busybody objected to the amount of money the pub was clearly making out of a "charity" event and that was that. The hall was always "fully booked"  when further requests were made. 

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I have an EDIT re guitar sales, an interesting one because of the pandemic

With respect to guitar sales plummeting, that was the last time I checked, but it seems a surge is now happening ( result of pandemic )  

https://www.nova.ie/guitar-sales-have-skyrocketed-despite-pandemic-194702/

This pandemic also saw so many first time buyers of musical instruements generally. “JC” Curleigh has said that people have become increasingly keen on playing a guitar. People of all ages.

He said, “A lot of people said, ‘Hey, I’ve always wanted to play guitar. “So, guess what? All of a sudden, beginners came into to it. Intermediate players who had sort of gotten to a certain level, picked their guitar up again and started playing. And advanced and expert players were like, ‘Oh, my god, I have a wish list for this guitar. Life’s too short not to have my dream guitar. I’m going to buy it”. 

He added, “I fundamentally believe, in the last year, more guitarists have been created and engaged with, than in the previous 10 years combined. If we manage this dynamic as an industry, we’ve got a whole new generation of guitarists for the next 10, 20, 30 years”. 

So the interesting thing is will this be like the dog is not just for christmas OR will it take hold? Will my point about short attention span bare true again? How many guitars bought during pandemic with the good intention of ‘Hey, I’ve always wanted to play guitar' BUT then the real work starts and fck, its just too much time, too difficult .. meh!!

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4 minutes ago, aidan o driscoll said:

So the interesting thing is will this be like the dog is not just for christmas OR will it take hold?

Or will we see the emergence of guitar playing dogs?

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@paulo I hear you .. I assume most of those bands were still covers bands in the "Charity" event? For widespread Paid in ORIGINALS bands playing in pubs etc every week I have to go back to 80s.

As an aside you mentioned not great bands. I have a quick funny story on that. A local ORIGINALs band here in Cork did the circuit for a while .. there live set was about 12 ORIGINAL Tracks .. But here was the ingenuity :D .. They actually only had 4 songs and played them 3 times over at different tempo's and styles :D

  

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Here are 2 different articles recently that also play into this topic:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/mar/18/why-bands-are-disappearing-young-people-arent-excited-by-them

"The moment that we started a band was the best thing that ever happened,” sings Matty Healy on the 1975’s recent single Guys. The song is an ardent love letter to the band, and to the romance of bands in general: the camaraderie, the solidarity, the joyous fusion of creativity and friendship. It’s an old sentiment but an increasingly rare one.

This is what has been lost and what much of the disinterested youth of today are missing out on. Something that could last for a lifetime

And in UK which is and has been such a huge nurturing incubation unit for new bands and artists in the past:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/feb/08/european-touring-radiohead-brexit-colin-greenwood

 

Edited by aidan o driscoll

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