Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dazed and confused in the age of new media

We've all been talking for a long time about how the old media establishment of a few astronomically popular bands will crumble and give way to a plethora of smaller acts. That's all well and good, and you can see evidence of it in the declining record sales and the rise of music blogs like discodust.blogspot.com and discoworkout.com. The trend is more and more people are spending more time listening to music and searching for talented artists and sharing them with their friends.

However, my experience is that I discover an artist I like, and I'm unable to purchase their music through the large channels I'm familiar with. Let's take Kill the Noise, for example, who is a DJ somewhere in California who happens to have made a remix I like. I go to his site, and it's all about booking information for getting him to come and perform for you. He has several of his tracks in a Flash music player at the top of the page. I'm listening to it as I write this post, and it's good. There are even links to a handful of downloads, some for free and others for pay. But I can't find a single link to an album for purchase.

It makes sense: the album isn't a format that fits the model of new media. Why should an artist release 8 or so tracks all at once in a seemingly arbitrary collection? Why not publish as soon as each track is finished to keep the buzz alive, rather than waiting two years for new music? However, here I am with my wallet, trying to figure out how to purchase roughly $10 worth of music without spending too much time looking for it. I guess there's no place for this in the new media regime. In order to find all the new hip stuff, you've got to have boatloads of time to comb the music blogs and download hit singles.

1 comment:

  1. Kill the Noise on BeatPort :P

    BeatPort like iTunes for DJs and is a great place to find those random electronic music artists on music blogs. But to your point, it's a music store, not the artist's own store.

    Today it's hard for individual artists to easily setup stores on their site. That takes some amount of investment on their part. Satchmo is a great web store framework. Once it gets more popular I can imagine a bunch of open-source web templates showing up that, when mixed with Satchmo, will get you a dead-simple web store for purchasing music at roughly the cost of hosting at RackSpace, SliceHost, or AWS. There could even be a ready-made webstore AMI that one of those provide for music artists providing downloadable content. Satchmo already supports these use cases today.

    Having your own soapbox is easy today -- just get a website. Having your own soapbox-webstore is harder, but (hopefully) it's going to get easier. This will help democratize the music industry and bring power back into the hands of content creators.

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