The own sales. It is a convenient

The
music industry is continuously evolving. In the beginning, music was recorded
onto physical copies such as a CD or vinyl to be distributed to consumers in
store. With ‘online distribution’ consumers can now listen and send music via a
non-physical digital method.

The
internet has become a major creative outlet enabling musicians to distribute
their material to consumers. The development of online streaming services such
as SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube are now some of the dominating distribution
recourses for these musicians. In 2016, recording industry’s revenue was split
into 4 categories on IFPI; Synchronization revenue (2%), performance rights
(14%), physical sales (34%) and digital sales (50%) (Representing the recording
industry worldwide, 2017), with digital sales becoming the dominating source of
income in the music industry.

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SoundCloud
has become one of the world’s biggest streaming platforms. In 2017 the recorded
number of monthly users was 76 million, with 10 million of those users being
musicians (Smith, 16 amazing soundcloud
statistics, 2017).
It is a great starting point for music distribution and to start a following. Moreover,
it offers 3 hours of free upload time until you pay for premium. It has built
up a reputation for many well-known artists such Chance the Rapper, Kygo and Post
Malone. However, you cannot make money from your Soundcloud uploads unless you
are given a ‘premier invitation’

Unlike
SoundCloud, CD Baby provides both online distribution for artists and a service
for consumers. Gordon (3rd edition, p.177) explains that CD Baby
keeps 25% of the music income and the artist keeps the rest. 360,000 different
albums have been sold by musicians on CD Baby. Companies can charge €1500 to €2500
to manufacture bulk CD’s meanwhile CD baby

Building
a name and brand as another key element for a musician’s self-promotion and
method of material distribution. Creating your own website can attract a base
for an audience as well as being a long-term strategy to control your own
sales. It is a convenient way for fans and record labels to get more
information on both the musician’s personality and music style. It also
displays a degree of professionalism. The design of the website should be eye-catching
with a certain ‘look or feel’ depending on the consumer audience (Harrison, p.198).
It should also be updated for notifications of albums and gig listings etc.
Using promotional material, it should have links to the artist’s social media
such as Instagram or Facebook

The
Internet has given artist from dependence, no longer reliant on record deals
with major labels. Creating an internet buzz can better the chance of being
noticed and potentially signed by record companies. According to Passman (2011, p.14) many record companies
have scouts online, searching for new artists. Connecting with your audience is a major factor in
promoting today’s music industry. It is essential to understand your audience
and fans for them buy and support your music. Having a strong social media
presence helps to connect with and notify fans much easier. Through social
media, many artists market and distribute their music independently at a much
lower cost.

Spilker
(2018) expands on how young people today have taken a interest into social
media and that 80% of watch time on YouTube was music related videos. Justin
Bieber and Halsey are examples of successful musicians that used YouTube to
their benefit. If you’re not growing with views or followers, you are not expanding
your fan base or aiming at the wrong audience. Many artists promote their shows
through mailing lists and entice their fan base by giving away small gifts to
subscribers such as pins with their logos. Furthermore, with the popularity of
Instragram live streams, musicians are given the opportunity to speak to their
audience and receive feedback on what the like/dislike and want.

Chance
The Rapper is a strong example of an independent musician who has become hugely
successful without signing with a major record label using the internet to his
advantage. This all lead to three Grammy wins in 2017. According to Chance (Nosnitsky,
The Fader, 2015) he has his own creative freedom to release his own material
and speak about what he wanted without the confines of a label, ‘I feel like
conforming to the mixtape to mixtape to album rule would just defeat the whole
purpose of not signing with a major label.” (The Fader, 2015). He
independently released the album “10 Day” on a music sharing site called
DatPiff in 2012 and received it over 400,000 downloads, leading to a large
audience following. His promotion depended on word-of-mouth and his SoundCloud
account for distribution. To date, his SoundCloud has 1.72m followers. Without
the help of a label or selling any physical albums, as of 2017 Chances net
worth is §33 million (McIntyre,2017).

Similarly,
to Chance the Rapper, Cellist Zoe Keating is an artist who independently rose
to fame and is now a leading figure in the “DIY Musician” movement. She began
releasing material herself through her BandCamp page and iTunes. She has a
strong social media presence and uses social networking to promote her music.
She has gathered 1.3 million Twitter followers and is also active on Facebook
and iTunes, continuing to build her following. Using her social media platforms,
she promoted and sold 60,000 copies of her self-released album (Anon, The
Union, 2013). Keating relies on punk events, jazz clubs and church events to perform.
She has made connections and played with artists such as Amanda Palmer and
Paolo Nutini without the help of a label. Keating still remains unsigned,
recording music from her home. Moreover, Keating wants to continue to release
her material independently ‘I don’t think a label has much to offer unless it’s
a pure distribution deal’ (Houghton, Hypebot, 2012)

Both
these artists have made a successful career for themselves and done so through
the digital age of streaming cites and social communities. It’s clear
that the distribution of physical copies isn’t dead but that today’s revenue now
resonates within digital sales.