When Business and Art collide…
Music, at it’s roots, is an art form. Because of music’s universal appeal, there is an opportunity for business to make money off of it. While people could say that this has a negative influence on music as an art form, I’m more inclined to say that it has a neutral effect. Music will always be a part of society, it was around before record labels were created and will be around for as long as the human race exists. Because of the nature of music, it is impossible to “have a say” in what music gets made and in the end record labels only have the ability to affect what music gets listened to by the masses. In the end this does not change what music is made, nor the way music progresses musically.
Because the nature of selling music can be seen in the same way as selling a commodity (make people want to buy your product, then sell you product at a price that will maximise profits), there is seen to be a massive difference in the way people and record labels see music. Both are legitimate views, but I think it creates a very unique situation, it means that record labels have to be innovative (maybe even as much as the artists) in the way market and produce bands to keep up with the changing face of music.
Record labels have been relatively good at keeping up with technology and how that affects how music can be marketed and produced, examples being the success of 7″ records, LP’s and eventually the transition from these formats to CD’s. But because the rise of the internet, a new paradigm is starting to emerge or more to the point cracks are appearing in the old paradigm.
The Internet provides good opportunities as well as being potentially damaging to the music industry as we know it. Marketing is getting a whole lot more efficient and effective because of the internet, labels are able to hype up bands with a large proportion of “free” advertising, through music blogging through the emergence of blogging sites such as wordpress and tumblr.
Personally, I think the emergence of the internet is a very good thing, because it allows for a bigger focus on live music and also allows bands to get their music heard for minimal cost, and I think this allows for a great amount of creativity.