In this blog post I am going to reflect on the impact the internet has on popular music.
The internet was the biggest game changer in the music industry since it has become popular in the beginning of this millennium.
Today the internet is the predominant medium for listening to music. People don’t buy many CDs anymore instead the search for their music online and they either download the music they like or stream it (listen to it online). The rise of streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal etc. has made streaming a widely used practise for listening to music online. Another name that can’t be unmentioned while discussing music on the internet is the video platform Youtube. Youtube was founded in 2005 and has increased its popularity ever since, many amateur musicians and professionals have youtube channels on which they upload music videos of their songs.
Many people in the music (traditional) industry had and some still have a very critical opinion about the internet and its effect on music, they say now that anybody has access to an almost unlimited amount of music online the music industry loses money which harms the creative process of professionally producing music.
This opinion has some very valid points, one being that the music industry (e.g record labels, producers, radio stations) used to filter music. They decided what kind of music was worth playing and the consumer had no power over what music was played to him. The good aspect of this was that the industry had some kind of ‘quality filter’, music that was considered not good or inappropriate etc. was not distributed. On the other hand this took away the consumer’s choice for he could only choose to listen to music that was distributed by the music industry.
The internet changed that aspect, now anyone can distribute their music without getting involved in the traditional music industry at all.
Any musician/band can record an album and upload it to their youtube channel, post it on their Facebook page or put it on Sound Cloud. This means many good musicians who earlier never would have had the chance to be heard can now make their music available to anyone. This is THE biggest advantage of the internet for upcoming musicians.
Bu it has to be taken into account that the internet is making it harder for established musicians to make as much money from their music as they used to make before the internet. Because selling music over the internet (via iTunes for download or vie Spotify for streaming) brings significantly less profit than selling it in the traditional way via CDs.
In conclusion one could say that the internet has evened out the field in favour of smaller artists and independent musicians, for they have now a chance to distribute their music on their own, but at the costs of an overall decrease of profit for the individual artist.