Making Music, Breaking Records!

25 Jan 2013

The recent news stories about the collapse of the likes of HMV and Blockbuster look set to hammer another nail in the coffin of a music industry that is already a shadow of its former self. HMV appears to have been bailed out which is obviously good news, but it will probably be a temporary reprieve rather than a long term solution. The effects will be felt throughout the industry – distributors are losing major channels to market and as a result, labels will find it harder to pitch their current and back-catalogue to them. With labels being able to distribute less, then they will reduce the press runs and ultimately not sign as many artists. Of course the whole download industry removes the need for a physical product, but many labels are struggling to profit substantially from the download market and you do still have a market out there for music on record or cd. In fact vinyl has seen a continued surge in popularity over recent years.

So is this all such a bad thing? Well I have mixed feelings about it all. I say this as a vinyl aficionado, eager to get my fix of large black (although coloured vinyl seems almost more common than black these days) cylinders of plastic. I love record shops, I love their history, the chance to unearth hidden treasures or discover new bands and so each record shop closure comes as a disappointment.

Moving the focus away from the industry is a way of empowering the artists themselves. New channels are opening up for acts to distribute their work and there are crowdsourcing options available to attract recording funds without relying on the purse strings of a record label. Instead of producing demos bands are publishing recordings on the likes of bandcamp and soundcloud and are using their Facebook and Twitter accounts for some imaginative promotion campaigns.

To be able to do all of the above effectively, a sound management of social media and other marketing channels is required – instead of having a label to do the promotion of new releases, the bands or their management need to do this themselves. Trying to get a voice heard over all the others is no mean feat and requires some pretty astute maneuvering.

One of the key factors that everyone in the game needs to learn is the effective management of contacts and of data. Whether on a large or small scale, a bedroom recording artist or professional touring outfit can use the software available to manage their contacts and work on their agenda. The advantage of todays’ cloud-based software and modern CRM solutions is that they provide the mass availability of tools that were once an exclusive luxury only available to large corporations with the required financial and human resources.

Whilst the music industry itself is reeling from the recent changes to the High Street and is still scratching its head searching for an answer to their woes, musicians and artists have the possibility of side-stepping the middleman, harnessing the capabilities of hosted CRM to manage their own data and push their talents to market.