Angel Or Devil

I believe I’m not making a mistake in saying that we have never talked about this much than during the last few months even the last few years. Artists, politicians, citizens everybody has an opinion on the subject… Why ? Because this new century has given birth to a real revolution in the music industry. Internet has been accused being responsible for the music crisis. Yes, it’s right the hegemony of CD is going from strength to strength (it’s so expensive…) but the Internet has to be seen as a real opportunity to develop the influence of music.

I’m not going to talk about the political aspect of the subject and about the infamous Hadopi law because everything has been said about it and because (I’m not going to lie) I’m not really interested in the debate (sorry for my numerous friends who are musicians, …). I prefer to focus on an aspect that really strikes me : the change of temporality and also the change of the musicians’ status.

David against Goliath ?

Before the emergence of the Internet it was really hard to become famous thanks to music. The music system was really hard and to be introduced to it was a miracle. But with online music, everyone is now able to make his music accessible. Websites like Dailymotion, youtube, myspace or my major company are new vectors for musicians. Paradoxically, if it is easier to become famous on the net and if there is more room to make its music famous, the number of musicians on the web have also created a kind of confusion. The abundance of musicians makes things blurry and internet users have less of a chance to see your videos or podcasts.

Nevertheless, what really strikes me is the inversion of the balance of power. Before musicians were weak and they were crying at manager’s doors just to be listened to. Now managers and producers are going on the Internet in order to find the new gold nugget. In France, it was the case with Sliimy who remixed of one of Britney Spears’ song, Womanizer, and record company offered him a contract. Now musicians can highlight their talent on the net and record companys come to them instead of the other way round. But in this inversion of power, the new element is the internet user. It is him who gives weight and arguments to musicians to become famous. More you are viewed on the web, more you have the chance of being famous. Thus it is not only the way to listen to music that has changed but also the way that musicians are considered. Now they are short-lived with the web. Look at Kamini, a French singer who became famous with his song “Marly Gaumont". He wrote two more songs and then he disappeared. This new status is also a consequence of the abundance of artists that we have seen upside.

A marketing revolution

This new competition with the web make « traditionnal » musicians, the one who didn’t use the Internet to build their success, in a predicament and now they have to innovate. In fact, because people listening to music on the Internet more and more, how can they seduce the public and convince them to buy their Cds? The only thing to do is to change their marketing strategy and it is what they have done for some of them. Let’s take the example of Radiohead who, in 2007, launched their new album “In Rainbows” only on the Net. You were able to download it on their website and there was no price indicated : internet users paid the price they wanted. Another example are the Nine inch nails. In 2008, they launched their album “Ghost I-IV”. For this album they had a completely different strategy and thats whats made it original. They offered a wide variety of formats: downloading, a version double CD and a luxurious casket (300 dollars) in limited series (2500 copies). With those two examples we can easily understand that the Internet has changed the way that “traditional” groups have to cope with the new competition. Musicians on the web are powerful and the famous “buzz” can often overshadow other artists.

In fact, the Internet is not the devil that some people want to see. Music has changed with the Internet. But the Internet has opened a new field of opportunities and it has also permited to change the status of the principals actors in the world of music which is particular. Don’t be afraid of the power of the Internet, don’t try to control him because it is stronger than any other media, just let it thrive.

Romain A.

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